The monthly employment report for December was expected to show more than 500,000 jobs were lost in December, and the official government report indicates that 524,000 jobs were lost and wages slightly fell as well. If you add in the revisions from last month’s numbers, the official report is indicating 600,000 less jobs than it did this time last month. This brings the total unemployment rate up to 7.2% and means a total of 2.6 million jobs were lost in 2008.
Sectors losing the most jobs:
- Construction – No new homes, no new business: everyone relying on construction is in trouble
- Business Services – Businesses aren’t expanding, a lot are even closing down doors for good or cutting jobs in an effort to stay afloat
- Retail – As consumers deal with record debt, new purchases are down and being cheap is becoming the newest fad
Job Markets with Gains:
- Education – Part of the good news is that we still need more schools. Students and teachers have been fairly insulated from the worst of the economic crash
- Health Services – Demographics come in to play again: We currently have larger parts of our population heading into retirement and old age. Its a great time to get into medicine, especially if you can do so without incurring the average of $200,000 in student loans that American doctors graduate with.
Nurses, medical researchers, doctors, and teachers of all sorts are still in demand.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that its the right time to get an education degree. A lot of the people who are becoming teachers now are ones previously employed in the private sector and seeing their jobs and positions downsized or outsourced. There’s a lot of competition for those jobs in particular, because its being seen as a “safe” alternative to the private sector job market.
Many cities are facing their own budget problems, so some teaching positions may be growing less slowly than they have in the past few years. Here in Jacksonville, there’s been a flood of new applications for substitute teachers – despite requiring college education for really low pay, a lot of people are signing up for the chance to even work a day here or there.
More than ever, students should pursue technical degrees in medicine, engineering, and advanced math. Financial and business management degrees may not be the cash cow they were just a few years ago!