If you follow the news as we do, you’re probably sick of the term “jobless recovery,” which is economist-speak for the phenomenon where corporate profits and stock market start doing better, but companies that laid people off still aren’t hiring them back. With the national unemployment rate at about 9.5%, our current recovery qualifies as a jobless one. That’s especially unwelcome news if you’re out of work, finishing school and searching for your first job, or don’t like the job you have and would like a new one. It’s easy to read the news and think that you’ll never find anything.
But statistics can help you as well as depress you, and a closer look at unemployment figures reveals that some areas of the economy are doing better than others. Hidden in those numbers are clues about how to improve your odds if you’ve been having trouble finding a job.
1. Can You Relocate?
The national unemployment rate may be high, but it’s dramatically lower in some states: 6% in Vermont, 4.7% in Nebraska, and only 3.6% in North Dakota. And, it’s only 6.3% in Hawaii, which doesn’t sound to us like a bad place to be. Get your imagination going by checking out unemployment rates by state (and city) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2. Can You Get More Training?
The biggest job growth so far in the recovery has been in lower-paying, unskilled professions. But there’s also been improvement at the other end of the scale, for jobs that require a lot of education or training. “Middle-skilled” employees who may have a liberal arts bachelor’s degree, or a high school diploma with some specialized training, are having the hardest time finding jobs. So improve yourself from a middle-skilled to a highly-skilled job candidate and your prospects will improve as well.
3. Can You Change Industries?
Some industries are adding jobs much more quickly than the national average, and if you can aim your job search in these fields your chances of success rise dramatically. Most of these make sense if you think about it: health care and medical research, as the population ages; “green” industries, as concern for global warming mounts; business management, as more stringent government regulations require better auditing and governance.
4. Can You Work For A Start-Up Company?
Statistics show that the biggest creators of new jobs are new companies. With older, more established companies doing less hiring, now may be a good time to focus your search toward brand new companies that may be staffing. Working for a new company may seem like a bad deal, since most have fewer benefits than more established firms, and without a track record, the prospect of long-term employment may be less certain than with an older, well-established company. But working for a startup usually means a friendlier, more informal workplace with fewer rules and more opportunities to try out new ideas. Just ask us: LearnVest is a start-up—and we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Tell us in the comments: What is employment like in your state?
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