Monday, December 15, 2008

Three Havens of Hiring Growth

Last week we posted about Manpower's latest quarterly employment outlook survey, including a couple of tidbits about which industry sectors expect to do the most hiring in next year's first quarter. (Mining topped the list, followed by professional and business services.)

A CNNMoney story takes another bite at the apple, drawing on sector data from the monthly U.S. non-farm payrolls report issued by the Labor Department. That article spotlights accounting as one of three sectors that enjoy hiring momentum. The other two are education and health care.

With tax season looming, the calendar is an obvious short-term reason for accounting firms to staff up. But the story also says heightened scrutiny of financial firms will pump demand for audit work. It even suggests accounting is a counter-cyclical profession, citing John Challenger, chief executive of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas:

Especially in a recession, "accounting is a great field," Challenger said. "Companies are trying to cut costs and not over spend, that puts more importance on good financial controls which requires accountants."

Challenger also is bullish on hiring by pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms and makers of medical equipment. Health care products and pharmaceuticals were among only nine industries that announced hiring plans in November, according to data on layoff and hiring announcements Challenger compiles each month. The industry's steady growth means finance departments are expanding, too.

The broad health care industry added 369,000 jobs in the past 12 months, including 34,000 in November, Labor Department data show. Says Diana Fitting, vice president of Adecco, a staffing company:

The healthcare industry continues to be the healthiest sector in the U.S. job market. The Baby Boomer generation is aging and it's helping to keep healthcare growing.

The third area of job growth is education. A net 9,800 education-related jobs were created in November – not just for teachers, but a variety of support roles, including financial. Here, too, there is a counter-cyclical aspect: People laid off or looking to change careers swell the pool of students in degree programs, certification programs and training classes. What's more, voter support for education is expected to keep government funds flowing.

Where the jobs are [CNNMoney]

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