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.
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