Education, health care and government offer opportunities

When one door closes, another opens – it is an adage worth remembering in stressful economic times. As unemployment rises and savings shrink, an open door and security become more attractive than a hefty paycheck that could be gone tomorrow.

The good news: Plenty of recession-proof jobs – work that needs to be done regardless of the economic climate – are still out there and will continue to be available, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS has been studying the employment outlook from 2006 to 2016 and has been looking at facts on all the major industries. They have collected myriad facts and statistics on the variety of occupations, openings, training, educational requirements, working conditions and average earnings in each. And there’s an added bonus: This giant bureaucracy is happy to answer your questions.

“Giving you the current job prospects in any industry is a public service of the Department of Labor,” said Betty Su, who works in the industry employment projections department of BLS.

Kim Riley, a BLS economist, said they provide rates and levels of job turnover, which helps you determine which path to choose. “A lot of people are looking at turnover in their industry to see if they are where they should be,” she said.

A recent take on three industries – education, health care and government – indicate doors are open and offering a wide variety of jobs.

Educational requirements for positions in these industries are also broad, ranging from a high school diploma to a Ph.D. From entry level and beyond, workers are provided opportunities to improve job skills and advancement is possible for all dedicated, industrious employees.

Equally important, the jobs won’t by going away.

In an analysis of the health care industry, the BLS projects three million new jobs in the field between 2006 and 2016, the most in any industry. An aging population, medical advances and an anticipated large number of retirees contribute to the positive employment outlook. Available jobs are varied and include nurses, therapists, lab technicians, nursing and home care aides and office and administrative support.
In 2006, median hourly earnings in the largest occupational groups show registered nurses at the top of the salary range making $27.54 down to personal and home care aides earning $8.54 per hour.

Local, state and federal government jobs are also projected to be recession-proof into 2016. Hiring two percent of the national civilian work force, the U.S. government is the largest employer in the country. While employment is projected to decline during the 2006 to 2016 period, a large number of job openings are anticipated based on many federal workers due to retire in 2010.

Librarian, tax examiner, criminal investigator, microbiologist and chaplain are an eclectic sampling of available positions. At entry level, federal base pay rates in 2007 ranged from $16,630 to $93,063 per year.
State and local governments, excluding education and hospitals, employ eight million individuals in jobs ranging from administrators to highway maintenance workers with nearly one-third of all jobs in the various branches of law enforcement.

An increase is projected in state and local governments through 2016, created mainly by retiring workers. Median hourly earnings of the largest occupational groups in state and local government ranged from $11.40 to $26.76 in 2006.

Because education is compulsory in all states until at least age 16, the education industry accounts for about 13.3 million jobs, receiving an automatic “A” for recession-proof occupations ranging from bus drivers, cooks and administrative assistants to teachers, counselors and administrators.

Employment in education is expected to grow 11 percent through 2016 despite a decrease in enrollment at elementary through secondary school levels. BLS projects this slowdown will be balanced by increased preschool and all-day kindergarten programs and the hiring of more special education teachers and aides. Retirement will also contribute many openings.

In 2006 median annual earnings in the largest occupational groups ranged from $77,740 for administrators to $20,740 for teacher assistants.

Copyright 2009 CNS