The world needs ditch diggers, as any miserable old curmudgeon can tell you. And, as it turns out, the American job market needs lab technicians, and database managers, too.
These are just some of the more promising career paths according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report compiled by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. (BLS)
Two sectors, Professional and Business Services, as well as Education and Health Care, had the highest rates of available job openings among the nine categories tracked by the BLS in October, the most recent month covered by the just released JOLTS report.
Recently released BLS statistics confirmed that those two areas added jobs in November.
"Based on these two pieces of data, one could make a case that professional and business services, and health care and education are the two sectors holding the most job opportunities presently," noted John Wohlford, a BLS economist who heads up the JOLTS research.
Overall, the job openings rate was unchanged in October at 1.9 percent, meaning that for every possible job available, 1.9 percent of them remained unfilled as of Oct. 31.
After falling steeply from mid-2007 through February 2009, the job openings rate has been holding steady since March 2009. The absolute number of job openings fell by 2.3 million from the most recent peak period (June 2007 to April 2009), but since then it has declined by only 7,000.
Openings have been tracked by BLS since 2000 when there were 5 million unfilled openings. Currently, there are only 2.5 million openings. Meanwhile, 15.7 million Americans are unemployed.
The two industries with the highest rates of unfilled openings, Professional and Business Services and Health Care and Education, both carried rates of 2.7 percent. The industry with the lowest rate of unfilled opening was construction, which was an industry seen as supposedly benefiting the most from stimulus spending. Looking within the high opportunity sectors and beyond, ABC News tried to identify five areas of employment for job seekers to zero in on, whether you are just out of college, attempting to reinvent yourself or just plain desperate:
Medical Records Database Manager
With a population that is aging and some version of health care reform coming down the pipeline, there could be an explosion in government spending on health care administration, noted Gary Burtless, economist at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. "The government spends an enormous amount of money in this sector, with most of it handled by private companies," Burtless added. Health information technicians can earn around $30,000 annually and were among seven emerging professions recently featured on CareerBuilder.com.
Demand for professional physical therapy aides will increase by 46 percent, according to the Penn Foster Career School. As middle-aged men and women surgically repair their knees for active lifestyles in their golden years, there will be demand for therapists who can do post-operative rehab. Personal trainers are also expected to be needed as more Americans get serious about getting fit. People are always going to get sick and injured, points out Bertless. "More so in bad economies," he added.
"That there are job opportunities in higher education is not surprising, because in a terrible economy, more people go back to school," explained Peter Morici, economics professor at the University of Maryland Business School. HigherEdJobs.com currently lists more than 400 positions under the subheading "admissions and enrollment."
Information Technology Specialist
Among the occupations expected to see double digit growth in the next five years are network systems/data communications analyst and network and computer systems administrator, while the IT field in general will add 1.6 million jobs by 2014, according to the Department of Labor.
Staffing at temporary employment agencies has jumped to the highest level in five years. "If demand trends remain uncertain, temp staffing to keep labor costs under control," said Howard Penney, a macro economic analyst at New Haven, Conn.-based Research Edge. Sure, it may not seem like the most lucrative or promising career, but when bills are piling up, sometimes you take what you can get. Plus, once you get a foot in the door, even as a temp, there's always the chance to make an impression and land something beyond just two days a week.