Even though the December jobs report revealed a lower unemployment rate -- dropping to 9.4 percent from 9.8 percent the month before, which was the biggest monthly drop in a dozen years as 100,000 jobs were added to payrolls -- everyone wants to know where exactly the openings exist.We asked Moody's Analytics and Monster.com to give us five cities where hiring is up -- and is expected to continue to rise. The industries responsible for the employment gains in these places may point to hot spots in other parts of the country too.
Portland: Portland is on an upswing thanks to technology. Intel, which creates computer processor and related products, is Oregon's largest employer. It has announced plans to build a new research and development facility in the Portland area and has invested $6 billion there. The ripple effect of that investment will be construction and manufacturing jobs, too. Portland is also a regional hub and so global trade has been on the rise as well. Minneapolis: Minneapolis has already recovered more than half of the jobs it lost in the recession. Two driving forces are manufacturing and retail. Manufacturing is regaining steam because demand for products is staying ahead of production, which means new orders are growing. Company owners are feeling confident and are hiring to meet that demand. Plus, the number of retail jobs is growing, helped in no small part by the massive expansion of the Mall of America, which is currently underway. Houston:The unemployment rate in Houston doubled to 8.6 percent, still lower than the national average. Yet oil and energy are keeping and creating jobs. Energy prices and demand are up, which boosts exploration, shipping, manufacturing - everything connected with the oil industry. And because things are doing well, people are moving to Houston, so we're seeing a ripple effect, pumping up the housing and health care market. Washington, D.C.: The growth in D.C. will be driven by the need for business services - office workers for the many industries that want headquarters close to the capitol. Highly educated and skilled workers already in the area are attracting firms to come to the area, so much so that business service employment has already passed its pre-recession peak and the experts expect it to keep growing. For example, Northrop Grumman is relocating its headquarters to the northern Virginia suburbs - just an indication of things to come.
Orlando: When times are tough, tourist destinations suffer more than other areas. But now that people are feeling more confident and are willing to spend some money on vacations, Orlando's job market is growing. The new Harry Potter entertainment complex added a lot of jobs, too. Orlando will also benefit from net-migration, which means people moving to the area for seasonal jobs. That fell off during the worst of the recession because workers were unable to afford the move. That should change this year.One final note: According to Monster.com, the most in-demand jobs in most major metro areas that are experiencing consistent jobs growth are computer software analysts and registered nurses. Tory Johnson is the CEO of Women For Hire and the Workplace Contributor for ABC's "Good Morning America." Connect with her at Twitter.com/ToryJohnson or Facebook.com/Tory. Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" website.