A new year means resolutions, goals and reflections. For most workers, the start of the new year also brings with it that potentially good, possibly awful, probably-awkward-either-way little chat that occurs between managers and their direct reports every first quarter. The annual performance review.
Performance reviews are pretty loaded conversations. If you’re an employee, they’re a summary of the efforts you’ve spent the last year of your life putting (or not putting) forth, your value to the company that employs you and typically, a good gauge as to whether or not you’re in line for a raise or promotion in the coming year. For managers, the conversations are an indicator of leadership ability and management effectiveness.
Yet often, the more stressful part of an annual review is not getting the feedback, it’s giving it. How do you tell an employee that she needs to get her rear in gear without hurting her feelings (or using the phrase ”rear in gear”)? How do you express what a great manager your boss is without sounding like you’ve got a crush on him?
Below, some advice for both managers and employees on how to give effective feedback, both positive and negative.
General statements about performance can seem empty. Comments like “You need to work harder,” are too vague, and will leave your colleague with a feeling of “where do I start” when it comes to changing their behavior. Your feedback will be the most constructive and well-received if you have concrete examples of the points you are making, whether positive or negative.
For example, instead of telling your boss “I’d like more responsibility,” try “I’m really interested in Project X that we’ve been working on all year, and I’d love to get more involved.”
Or, instead of praising an employee with “You did a great job with business development last year,” say “I see that you brought in 12 new clients last year, which went beyond your annual goal of bringing in eight. I appreciate your effort.”
If you have some less-than-positive feedback to dish out, it’s best to just come out and say it. No need to lead up to it with a list of things the employee has done well or to sandwich the criticism between two compliments; doing so can seem passive-aggressive or insincere.
Additionally, by giving someone both positive and negative comments in the same breath, you run the risk confusing the person. He or she might focus more on the positive stuff and shrug off the negative feedback as an “Oh well, at least I’m doing great in the rest of my job,” when that may not be the case.
In other words, say what you mean and mean what you say.
While it’s important to be direct when giving feedback, it’s equally important to be diplomatic in how you deliver it. Try not to come across like you’re preaching from a pedestal about your colleague’s faults (i.e. “You don’t seem as enthusiastic about your work this year, and I think you really need to step up your effort because it’s bringing down the team”). The person may tune out or get defensive.
Instead, come to the conversation from a point of wanting to rectify, not just identify, the problem. Say something like “I noticed that you struggled to meet your sales goals last year. How can we make those goals more attainable going forward?”
In other words, say what you mean and mean what you say, but you don’t have to say it mean.
For more on performance reviews, see:
- Don’t Say That To Your Boss; Say This Instead Our friends over at The Hiring Site recently gave bosses...
- Learning From Rejection: The Questions to Ask When You Don’t Get The Job When you got cut from your high school chess team,...
- So You Think You’re a Great Candidate, Do You? One of CareerBuilder’s Facebook fans recently asked us, “Why aren’t...
As each year winds down and the dropping of the Times Square ball gets closer, you can’t help but be a little reflective. Best-of lists that populate every blog and newspaper—ahem–and most of December seems to be about looking back rather than looking ahead. But once we get to the new year, that all changes and we make resolutions and predictions. We’re going to lose 10 pounds. We’re going to clean out the garage. We’re going to be more financial responsible. We’re going to get a new job.
Wait, a new job? Can we do that in 2011?
According to CareerBuilder’s 2011 Job Forecast, yes. The survey of more than 2,400 hiring managers and HR professionals found 24 percent of employers intend to hire full-time, permanent employees in 2011. That’s an increase from 20 percent in 2010 and 14 percent in 2009. Meanwhile, only 7 percent intend to decrease headcount, which is a stark contrast to the 16 percent who said so in 2009.
Part-time hiring continues to improve at a gradual pace. Thirteen percent of surveyed employers will hire part-time employees in the coming year, and only 5 percent intend to decrease part-time headcount.
What to expect
If finding a new job in 2011 is among your priorities, you probably have two questions: First, who’s hiring? Second, how much will I earn?
To that first question, look to contract and temporary hiring as the most likely avenues for employment, 34 percent of hiring managers will hire temporary workers this year. Employers turn to contract and temporary hiring because they don’t need employers to work on permanent, full-time projects at present. Plus, there are HR-related issues (such as limiting headcount) that are avoided with temp workers. One of the benefits to temporary and contract work is that it offers employees a glimpse of that organization’s culture without having to commit to a full-time position. Also, it is one way to earn some valuable face time with that employer and be at the top of his or her list when a full-time position does open.
Now, when it comes to paychecks, expect to see the same caution from employers. Because of increasing responsibility and demands beings placed on workers, 41 percent of employers worry that their best talent will quit once the economy improves. Therefore, 61 percent of employers intend to increase pay for existing staff in the coming year, but the average raise will be 3 percent or less.
For job seekers, the good news is that 31 percent of employers will provide higher initial job offers to candidates than they have in the past, the majority of those offers will only be 1 to 3 percent higher.
Where to look
So now that you know what to expect, you probably want to know where to look. Geographically speaking, the West leads all regions, with 26 percent of hiring managers in that area planning to hire full-time, permanent employees. However, the other three regions aren’t far behind, with 24 percent of Northeastern employers planning to do so the same, and 23 percent in both the Midwest and South.
Where you do see more difference in hiring is in the industry breakdown. Of employers who are hiring, 27 percent will be hiring because they intend to focus on their customers and improving business. Information technology and customer service trail only by 1 and 2 percent, respectively. Rounding out the top five industries for hire in 2011 are engineer and technology.
Let us know what your thoughts are on finding a new job in 2011. What are your plans for the year? Do you think you’ll have better luck than in 2010?
- Good news: Employers are ready to hire in the coming months Job seekers, employers, analysts and any other person who’s paid...
- What Are Your Chances of Finding a New Job in the Fourth Quarter? We’re entering the final quarter of 2010, and, if history...
- Employers See a Brighter 2010 Yesterday I mentioned that CareerBuilder released its 2010 Job Forecast and...
One of the many—and we do mean many—downsides to the Great Recession came in the form of longer hours and more responsibility for workers who survived layoffs. When employees were let go, many companies didn’t also decrease the amount of work they needed done. Instead, they shifted that work to other employees.
Meanwhile, technology continued to burrow into the workplace. Where personal computers revolutionized offices 20 years ago, handheld devices are having the same effect today. The freedom to access e-mail, voicemail and every other work document from the smart phone or tablet means you never really leave work behind. Combine this technology with presume to put in more hours at the office and you have the ingredients for becoming a workaholic.
Workaholics are people who let work consume their lives. Either they’re doing work or thinking about it, even off the clock. While these work addicts are nothing new, they aren’t going away either—at least not before unemployment decreases. And a new CareerBuilder survey finds that 52 percent of workers now put in more than 40 hours per week and 14 percent work more than 50 hours.
Consider that 31 percent of workers bring home work at least once a week, and 10 percent bring work home with them a minimum of every other day.
Plus, even when workaholics aren’t bringing work home with them, they’re thinking about it.
- 24 percent of workers are thinking about work when they’re at home or being social
- 19 percent of workers have dreams about work
- 16 percent of workers are usually talking about work, even if they’re at home or having out with friends
Not surprisingly, all of this work has put some extra stress on workers:
- 51 percent of workers have seen their workloads increase over the last six months
- 27 percent of workers have no taken a personal or sick day in the last few years
- 26 percent of workers have experienced health issues directly related to job stress
And this workaholism doesn’t only affect the workers. Their personal lives are victims of omnipresent work, too.
- Because they’re always working, 22 percent of workers say they don’t have the time to pursue personal interests
- 12 percent of workers cite the amount of time they spend working as a cause of friction in the family
Some findings were just … well, troublesome. In the mind of many workers, home life has taken a backseat to the workplace.
- 15 percent of workers would rather be at work than at home
- 9 percent of workers are more concerned with approval from their bosses than from their families
Now, can you really blame any of these workers for taking their jobs more seriously than they might have a few years ago? Employment makes paying the bills possible, although some workers are underpaid and living paycheck to paycheck anyway. When the economy soured, many people cut back on eating out or started buying cheaper coffee, but they couldn’t eliminate paying the mortgage and car insurance. The pressure to stay afloat financially was and still is very real.
Still, talking to someone who has one eye on her BlackBerry during dinner remains annoying. Or having your spouse hold up his index finger to tell you to hold on while he finishes typing a work e-mail mid-conversation doesn’t feel good, regardless of the economy’s state. Workaholics existed before the recessions and they’ll be around forever. All that really matters is how respectful they are of the people in their lives.
Are you a workaholic or do you have workaholics in your life? Did the economic struggles of the past few years make you more likely to take your work home with you (both literally and figuratively)? Let us know.
- Mother’s Day Survey: The Effect of a Tough Economy on Working Moms In honor of Mother’s Day, The Work Buzz presents the...
- 10 Signs Time to Quit How many times a day do you say to yourself,...
- Are you overworked? Working overtime is never fun, no matter what state the...
In November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on non-fatal injuries and illnesses suffered by workers on-the-job. Topping the list of injury prone industries were protective services, landscaping and groundskeeping, health care, and transportation and warehousing.
Recent headlines, though, have us thinking that the BLS might have missed a hazardous job category: Performer.
The most recent in a string of accidents involving performers occurred on Monday, when Chris Tierney, an actor and aerial stunt performer in the Broadway production of “Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark” fell 30 feet after the harness he was suspended from malfunctioned. He was rushed to an area hospital and is currently being treated for broken ribs and internal bleeding.
Tierney is the fourth of the show’s actors to be injured on the job in the past few months; two others were hurt during aerial sequences similar to Tierney’s and one suffered a concussion after being hit with equipment while waiting offstage. For now the show will go on, but the seemingly hazardous set has spurned investigations by both the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the New York state Department of Labor, and has caused some in the theater industry to suggest that the performance’s director is putting lives in danger.
But the set of the big budget musical isn’t the only place performers have been injured in the past few months.
- In September, 24-year-old Gabriella Cedillo, a stunt woman working on the Indiana set of “Transformers 3,” was injured when a tow cable snapped and came through the windshield of the car she was driving and hit her in the head. Cedillo suffered severe head injuries and brain damage during the accident, prompting her family to file a lawsuit against the filmmakers.
- Just last week, actor Hugh Jackman was injured on the set of the Oprah Winfrey show, after hitting the brake too late on the zip-line he was sliding down, causing him to crash into a lighting rig.
- Musician-turned-actor Justin Timberlake sustained a muscle injury in early December while performing a stunt on the set of his new movie “Now.” While the injury wasn’t serious, it was bad enough that production on the film had to be halted.
- In July, singer Pink suffered minor injuries after a fall during an aerial sequence at one of her concerts.
So, what do you think? Are better safety regulations and considerations needed for these performers or is it just a part of the job? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
For more on dangerous jobs, see:
- Workplace Fatalities Reach Record Low A silver lining in the unemployment cloud: Workplace fatalities have...
- Today’s Most Dangerous Jobs In a culture that is filled with cubicle jobs that...
- “A Chicken Attacked my Mom” and Other Reasons you Called in Sick While getting sick is a total drag, sometimes, when you...
If you’ve been outside this week, you know that the streets are packed with shoppers and travelers. You need quite a bit of patience to survive at the mall, on the road, or at the airport right now. Every place you go is crowded and moving slowly right now.
Of course, you could just stay inside and avoid the crowds completely. If you do, you can continue your job hunt and not have to bother with the slow drivers who are backing up traffic for three exits. Really, the whole situation is win/win for you.
With that in mind, here are 10 companies hiring this week:
Sample job titles: Co-manager/assistant store manager,senior category strategy and innovation manager
Sample job titles: Manager trainee, customer service representative
3. Lockheed Martin Corporation
Sample job titles: C#.NET developer, expert cyber information security architect
4. Kindred Healthcare
Industry: Health care
Sample job titles: Certified nursing assistant, registered nurse
5. Concorde Career Colleges, Inc.
Sample job titles: Surgical technologist instructor, financial aid officer
6. JB Hunt Transport
Industry: Transportation and delivery
Sample job titles: CDL A driver, delivery specialist position
Industry: Medical records
Sample job titles: Medical records ROI specialist
8. Thomson Reuters
Sample job titles: Academic account manager, inside sales associate
Sample job titles: Reporting business analyst
10. Robert Half Legal
Sample job titles: Paralegal, legal secretary
- Companies hiring this week Hopefully your Thanksgiving went well and your jeans still fit....
- Companies Hiring This Week The holiday season is approaching and, as we mentioned last...
- Who’s Hiring This Week People want jobs. It really is that simple. Bloggers, editors,...
That’s because, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 office workers conducted by Philips Consumer Lifestyle and the National Sleep Foundation, more than half (56 percent) of participants reported not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
Among other issues cited:
- Eighty-five percent of respondents reported that a lack of sleep caused decreased productivity at work
- Sixty-four percent said that a poor night’s sleep caused their day to start off on a low note
- Nearly a third of workers said they’d been late to work because they’d overslept
While a number of factors may contribute to lack of sleep, having a stressful job is a known trigger for insomnia. According to the NSF website, “Stress causes hyperarousal, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness.”
Since more than three-in-four Americans reported being under an unhealthy amount of stress this year, and more than one-in-four reported that they’d lain awake at night in the past month, according to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, even adults who normally have healthy sleeping patterns are susceptible to disruptions if they’re stressed out at work.
Feeling like you may need more than a nap to catch up on your sleep deprivation? Try these tips to prevent stress from getting in the way of your nightly shut-eye:
1. Wind down: According to the NSF, it’s best to stop fielding work-related phone calls and e-mails at least two hours before bedtime. While watching television is acceptable, reading or listening to music is even better.
2. Stay organized: If you lay in bed all night thinking about what you have to do in the morning, make a to-do list at the end of each day, outlining the next day’s top priorities. Getting the information out of your head and down on paper where you can see it will make the tasks seem more manageable. Organizing your schedule into a calendar will also help, since you won’t have to worry about forgetting meetings, birthdays and appointments.
3. Exercise: According to the Mayo Clinic, working out during the day can provide twofold benefits around bedtime. First, the added activity may make you more tired, and thus help you fall asleep faster, plus exercise promotes relaxation and reduced stress levels. Just be sure to exercise in the morning or early evening, since you’ll have an increased energy level for a few hours post-workout – which is great during the day, but not right before bed.
4. Watch what you eat (and drink): Clearly, downing a cup coffee or tea (that’s not decaf) before bed is not a good idea if you’re having trouble sleeping, but caffeine can appear in unexpected places, preventing you from falling asleep. Consider this: A serving of Hershey’s dark chocolate contains 31 mg of caffeine, almost as much as a cup of tea (about 50 mg) or a 1 oz. shot of espresso (about 40 mg). Additionally, limiting liquid intake at night will prevent midnight bathroom trips.
5. See a doctor: Insomnia can spurn a vicious cycle. You can’t fall asleep, so you’re tired at work, which means you can’t get as much done, so you get behind, which causes stress, etc. If you think your insomnia is getting out of control, or if it persists for more than a few days, the NSF recommends seeing a professional.
For more on stress and work, see:
- Is boxing or yoga better for your job woes? Recently, the staff here was challenged to take part in...
- “A Chicken Attacked my Mom” and Other Reasons you Called in Sick While getting sick is a total drag, sometimes, when you...
- Father’s Day Survey: Working Dads Feel the Pressure Last night, as I walked into a family party, it...
On Monday, we told you about the AP report which stated that the national economic stress level hit an 18-month low point in October. While that doesn’t mean that stress has been eliminated, it does mean that more areas are under less economic stress, which is better than fewer areas under more stress. We’ll take it.
Today, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics released regional and state unemployment numbers for November and they showed little change month-over-month, we focused on the bigger picture instead; which is that year-over-year, the employment situation has shown an improvement.
Consider this: In 2009, when the regional and state job numbers for November came out, the BLS stated that, “Over the year, jobless rates increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.” This morning, just one year later, the report reads “Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia posted unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier,” meaning that, in 28 out of 50 states and in Washington, D.C., the employment situation has improved during the last year. Though it would be better to say that every state showed a decline in unemployment, this glass is still slightly more than half full.
So while we still have a bumpy road ahead of us, we can be happy for the progress that has been made, and hope that by this time next year, we’ll be able to say that the employment situation improved in every state in the country.
Below are the 11 states, plus Washington D.C., that have posted the largest drop in unemployment since this time last year:
1. Michigan: -2 percent (While Michigan still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, it’s on the road to recovery. Michigan posted a larger drop in unemployment rate than any other state this year).
2. Alabama: -1.7 percent
3. District of Columbia: -1.8 percent
4. South Carolina: -1.7 percent
5. New Hampshire: -1.5 percent
6. Illinois: -1.3 percent
7. Tennessee: -1.3 percent
8. North Carolina: -1.2 percent
9. Massachusetts: -1 percent
10. Ohio: -1 percent
11. Vermont: -1 percent
12. Wisconsin: -1 percent
The decrease in year-over-year unemployment rates and the AP report about economic stress we mentioned above aren’t the only positive economic indicators received this week, either. Additionally, the Labor Department reported this week that first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell for the third time in four weeks and, according to an article on Forbes.com, “The four-week average of claims also slid for the sixth straight week, reaching the lowest level since July 2008. That was before Lehman Brothers collapsed and markets seized up at the height of the financial crisis.” So, although the lives of so many Americans still may not be back to normal, these positive signs give us at least a little hope for better things to come in 2011.
For more on the nation’s employment situation, see:
- Good news: Economic stress reaches 18-month low Despite a bleak report on job numbers earlier this month,...
- November job numbers redux I suppose we were spoiled with last month’s BLS Employment...
- September Job Numbers Redux The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its September job numbers this morning,...
The end of each year brings with it lists. Every newspaper, magazine, blog, TV show and critics group can’t help but compile a list of favorites. Inevitably, it all comes down to taste. No two lists of the year’s best films are identical because no two critics have the exact same viewpoint. While those lists are fun to read, the more interesting reflection on the year comes in the form of quantifiable lists that reflect performance. What movies sold the most tickets? Which news story dominated coverage this year?
In that spirit, we put together a list of the blog posts and articles that attracted you, our wonderful readers, in 2010. The following posts and articles received the most attention this year. Check out what your favorite job search advice was, broken down by topic:
What the workplace will look like in the future
Some of the most popular stories had to do with the jobs of tomorrow. The recession eliminated many positions and sent workers back to the classroom to learn new skills or brush up on old ones. Therefore, workers don’t want to be caught by surprise again. They want to be ahead of the trends, and these articles give a glimpse of where tomorrow’s jobs will be.
Money, money, money, money… mooooney
What motivates us more than a paycheck? Sure, we want to help humanity and make the world a better place, but none of that is possible if we can’t afford food, shelter and clothing. Money’s always important to workers and seeing as wallets took–and continue to take–big hits from the economy, people are anxious to see where the dollars are.
Like it or not, résumés are part of every job search. That one page is a necessary evil you can’t avoid. They continue to be causes of pain and annoyance for job seekers, and these stories made it a little easier to write the kind of résumé that will get you hired.
Acing the interview
Interviews, like résumés, are unavoidable. You can complain about them or you can learn how to conquer them and beat the other job seekers. Knowing what to say, what not to say, and how to project yourself can make employers realize you’re the candidate to hire.
Finding the right job
Ultimately, what everyone wants is a job he or she loves. Or at least likes. Or at least doesn’t hate. Finding the job that doesn’t bore you, makes use of your talents, and suits your schedule isn’t easy. Not surprisingly, workers were eager to see where and how they could find the gig that fits their needs.
- 4 ways to change up your 2010 job search This year finds us at the start of a new decade...
- Based On Job Postings, Which Industries Show Promise? We recently reported on a survey that employers are offering...
- Best gifts for job seekers Chances are you probably know quite a few people who...
Oh, workers, you never cease to impress us. Day after day you walk, ride or drive to your job and work hard. Then you come home and repeat it all over again. That alone is exhausting. But each year a few workers rise above the rest when they go above and beyond. They do something noteworthy.
Now, we’re not saying these workers always do something that benefits humanity. Last year, one worker wrecked a borrowed Ferrari and another sent her co-workers to the hospital due to her pungent perfume. But sometimes a hero emerges, as we saw with the Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in last year’s plane crash in the Hudson.
And this year was no exception. We saw some weird work stories that had some heroism, some face-to-the-palm ridiculousness, and some cleverness.
Here’s our round-up of 2010’s weird and notable work stories:
15 cents, some imagination, and a job offer
Copywriter Alec Brownstein had to important realizations: 1. He wanted to find a new job for an exciting creative director and 2. His favorite creative directors didn’t have any sponsored links come up when he searched their names on Google. So he decided to purchase a Google AdWord (or sponsored link) for the names of each creative director—and it only cost him 15 cents per name. When the directors searched their own names, an activity Brownstein knew most people did, the saw a sponsored link that was addressed personally to them and said, “Hire me!” with a link to Brownstein’s personal website. He received calls from all but one of the directors and landed a job with one of them. Well done, Brownstein. [Source: Mashable.]
Will you be checking a bag?
When a Southwestern Airlines employee in Little Rock, Ark., was tending to some cargo en court to Forth Worth, Texas, a peculiar discovery was made. The bag was filled with human remains—approximately 40 human heads, actually. Apparently a medical research company was awaiting the shipment, but the proper paperwork apparently got mixed up at some point. The unsuspecting employee contacted police, who then investigated whether or not the delivery was part of an underground market. Eventually they discovered that the cargo was intended for medical purposes. [Source: NBCDFW.com]
What’s worse than an audit? A heart attack.
Many, if not most, people complain about filing taxes and the paperwork involved. Perhaps these people would change their minds if they heard the story of Earl Phillips, a resident of Adair County, Ky. When he called the states revenue department, he had to leave a message, which wasn’t returned until the next day. When he was talking to Natalie Brown, an employee of the Kentucky Department of Revenue, he began to sound labored. Brown noticed that something was wrong and asked him if he needed some medical assistance. Although she was in a completely different part of the state, Brown used his tax forms to find his address and notified his local 911 department. They went to Phillips’ home to find that he’d had a heart attack. Luckily, with treatment, he was fine. [Source: Tonic]
Every year, technology leader Apple unveils a new line of gadgets: iPods, iPhones, iPads, iTunes, and so on. The company loves to make a dramatic entrance, so the few leaked news that does trickle out in advance is usually benign. However, things got a bit messy with the latest iteration of the iPhone—the iPhone 4. The saga is long and is worth a read, but here’s the gist: An Apple engineer had an iPhone 4 prototype (disguised as an older version of the iPhone) with him at a bar. He had one beer too many and forgot the phone on his bar stool. Someone else found it, technology blog Gizmodo purchased it from him, and then the media had a field day and Apple wasn’t particularly happy. The engineer obviously didn’t mean to cause any sort of brouhaha, but his mistake became headline news. [Source: Gizmodo]
Money where you least expect it
You know what? There’s no way to tell the story any better than journalist Joe Peacock did: “[Steve] Wilson, a worker with the St. Louis firm DoodyCalls Pet Waste Removal, was cleaning up after a dog when he spotted what appeared to be a bit of half-digested U.S. currency ‘sticking out.’”
It was $58 in cash, which he returned to the pet’s owner. [Source: AOL News]
Don’t ice me, bro!
Sometimes the workplace is full of people who just want to have fun. And some of these people love a good fad. Think of the people who thought it was funny to answer the phone, “Wassssupp?” back in 1999 when the Budweiser commercials first aired. This year was the year of being “iced.” Icing someone is essentially forcing them to chug a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a malt beverage. In other words, a pointless college game went mainstream, only this time it went all the way to the office, and you had people posting Facebook pictures and YouTube videos of co-workers getting iced.
Yes, your accountant; your daughter, the first in the family to graduate with honors; your local salon owner–they were all iced while on the clock. Maybe even you were iced, seeing as it was a full-blown phenomenon. [Source: CNN]
And this, my friends, is your 2010 workplace year in review. We laughed, we cried, we iced. Another eclectic year on the clock has passed, but I’m sure 2011 will be just as creative.
Did we miss any noteworthy workplace stories this year? Or did you have an interesting workplace story that didn’t make the news? Let us know.
- Let the games begin! Do you hear something? It’s the sound of proud citizens...
- No Cussing At Work: What the [Bleep]? One of the first realizations many professionals have early in...
- The week of workplace don’ts It seems like this week was an exercise in what...
According to research released by the Associated Press earlier today, economic stress levels across the country reached an 18-month low point in October, largely due to job growth. The monthly report, which analyzes economic stress based on factors like employment levels and foreclosure rates found that, month-to-month, stress fell in 56 percent of the 3,100 U.S. counties examined. Additionally, just more than one-third of those counties were considered economically stressed, down from 35 percent in September.
Besides painting a positive picture for the U.S. economy, the report also provides valuable insight on both the industries and geographic areas that will be the best bets for job seekers in the new year.
Read on for a breakdown of the best and worst areas and industries for jobs (and click the links for jobs in each area).
If you’re in the midst of a job search, you might want to start looking for work as a farmer, a stock broker or a retail salesperson. That’s because counties in which a large number of jobs came from industries like farming, retail and finance, along with manufacturing, technology and insurance, had the healthiest economies and experienced the largest decrease in economic stress levels. According to the report, factors like an increase in overall U.S exports and the staying power of technology companies have contributed to the relative health of these sectors.
Since certain areas of the country lend themselves to different industries, geography also played a big part in economic health. The economy in Florida, for example, is heavily dependent on tourism – an industry hard-hit by the recession – in addition to having a small manufacturing sector. Consequently, it was the only state that had a month-to-month incline in economic stress level.
“Manufacturing is having a bit of a resurgence, and with Florida lacking a large manufacturing sector, we’re not really participating in that particular uptick,” Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida, said in the AP report. “We were certainly impacted by the Gulf oil spill, and we still have high unemployment. All of these things kind of swirl into this misery stew that keeps stress high in Florida.”
So where should you look if you want to increase your chances of landing a steady job in a thriving industry?
According to the report, the strongest states were in New England and the Midwest, due to the prevalence of technology and manufacturing companies in these areas, respectively. Overall, the states with the healthiest economies were North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Since the beginning of 2010, the states with the largest drop in economic stress were South Carolina, Alabama, New Hampshire, Michigan and Massachusetts. Since the AP began analyzing economic stress on a monthly basis in October 2007, North Dakota, Nebraska, Vermont, South Dakota and Alaska have had the most stable economies.
Despite the fact that the economies of some states are in better shape than others at present, things seem to be heading in the right direction for the U.S. as a whole, and may be markedly better by the end of next year. According to an ABC News analysis of the AP report, Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, forecasts “that the tax cuts will boost growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, as high as 3 percent next year, up from [a] previous forecast of 2.4 percent. That should be enough to lower unemployment to below 9 percent by the end of 2011.”
Now that would be some really good news.
What do you think about the AP report? Tell us in the comments section, below.
For more on employment, see:
- July Job Numbers Redux The July job numbers were released by the BLS this...
- Where are the jobs? Education and health services, that’s where. “Where exactly are these jobs you keep talking about?” That...
- September Job Numbers Redux The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its September job numbers this morning,...