The BLS released its monthly unemployment numbers today and, as expected, employers slashed 524,000 jobs in the last month of ’08. The nation’s unemployment rate also bolted to 7.2%, the highest since early 1993.
In total, the economy lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008. That was the most since 1945, when nearly 2.8 million jobs were lost, although the number of jobs in the U.S. has more than tripled since then.
Losses were widespread in December. Construction companies slashed 101,000, and manufacturers axed a whopping 149,000 jobs. Professional and business services got rid of 113,000 jobs. Retailers eliminated nearly 67,000 jobs, and leisure and hospitality reduced employment by 22,000. That more than eclipses the gains in the government sector (32,000 jobs) and in education and health care (which added 7,000 jobs each).
All told, 11.1 million people were unemployed in December.
So what does this mean for millions of job seekers and unemployed in 2009? Read more after the jump.
Looking ahead to 2009, recruitment levels are expected to be lower, but employers are indicating that they are not out of the mix completely, but instead taking a “wait and see” approach to hiring, according to CareerBuilder.com’s annual job forecast.
It is definitely more competitive. You have more people looking for jobs coupled with negative job growth, which results in more competition to catch the eye of the companies who are hiring. It is very important that job seekers stand out from the pack.
Here’s a look at the industries that saw growth in 2008. Remember, just because your not working in the industry, it doesn’t mean there isn’t work for you. For example: You don’t have to have medical training to work in healthcare or be a teacher to work in education, because as the industries grow, so will their need for support services like facilities management, accounting, marketing and human resources.
With a large segment of the population entering retirement age, health care remains strong, adding more than 372,000 jobs in 2008. Ambulatory health-care services (which include doctor’s offices, outpatient care centers and home health services) experienced a gain of 195,000 jobs. Hospitals added 139,000 positions, while nursing and residential care facilities grew by 38,000 jobs. Additionally, social assistance (like substance abuse and mental health counseling) added 68,000 jobs.
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The federal government, which employs more than 1.8 million civilian employees, added 84,000 jobs (not including the U.S. Postal Service). At the state level, 68,000 new jobs were added, while local government added 93,000 jobs,. While government staffing levels are often subject to budget and administration changes, there will be a growth in specialized areas related to border and transportation security, emergency preparedness, public health and information analysis.
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Education also grew at a healthy clip in 2008 adding more than 97,000 jobs. The movement toward universal preschool and all-day kindergarten will require more preschool and kindergarten teachers. A necessity for more special education teachers is the result of a greater emphasis on classroom inclusion of disabled students. To meet the needs of special education and English as a second language students, classrooms will need additional teacher assistants. More high school graduates will attend college and professionals will return to school to enhance or update skills, therefore feeding the demand for post-secondary teachers.
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Mining/Oil and Gas Extraction
Although the U.S. crude oil production has declined by 20 percent in the last decade, employment in mining rose by about 66,000 workers in 2008. Support activities for mining and oil and gas extraction accounted for most of the increase, adding 41,000 and 16,000 jobs respectively, but coal mining saw a small boost, too. What’s contributing to the rise in demand for some of today’s most dangerous jobs? Three key factors: the U.S. government’s goal to reduce dependence on foreign oil, new drilling techniques and technologies, and the prospect of opening federal lands to oil exploration.
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