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Job Growth Targets Both High, Low Wage Careers as Middle Suffers Loss  :  Published April  2007 All Rights Reserved


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Job Growth Targets Both High, Low Wage Careers as Middle Suffers Loss


The United States reported adding approximately 180,000 jobs to payrolls in March 2007, which was slightly higher than expected. With a workforce of approximately 150 million however, new jobs in March continued to be either higher wage positions ($100,000 per year or more) or lower-wage (below general standards of living) with fewer jobs available in the mid-salary range.

For higher wage earners, TheLadders.com found that the ratio of active job seekers to high-end job openings has decreased across much of the United States, creating a job seeker’s market.

“While economic indicators have been sending mixed signals through much of the first quarter, one consistent source of strength has been the hiring activity in the $100,000-plus job market,” said Marc Cenedella, president and CEO of TheLadders.com. “From New York to San Francisco, we’re seeing companies looking to build their upper ranks.”

Meanwhile, in the nation's most populous state, California's manufacturing job losses continued in first quarter of 2007 following the fourth consecutive year of job losses. Some 24,270 jobs were lost since February 2006 in California alone from a sector long considered a solid middle-income professional career.

Factory job losses were driven by 1,525 manufacturing establishments either going out of business or relocating during 2006 according to the 2007 Directory of California Manufacturers, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News Inc., of Evanston, Illinois. The state has lost 128,296 jobs lost since March 2001 and the number of reported plants fell 13 percent (or by 4,324) during this time. California accounts for almost 9 percent of the nation’s manufacturing employment and 7 percent of nation's plants.

“California exports have increased significantly over the past year,” said Tom Dubin, president of Manufacturers' News. “However, the state’s business environment is still among the most expensive in the nation, and this continues to have an impact-- particularly on small manufacturers.”

Southern California accounts for the most manufacturing activity with 65 percent or 18,025 of the state’s plants, 46 percent of which are located in Los Angeles County. Data shows that central California lost the largest percentage of manufacturing plants in 2006 at 4.8 percent with Santa Clara County reporting 3.5 percent fewer companies than one year ago.


National trends

TheLadders.com’s Quarterly Executive Job Market Trends Report measured hiring activity across a variety of metrics and found the hottest $100,000 plus job markets to be New York, San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Seattle. "Thanks in large part to steady growth among Fortune 500 stalwarts, New York has reclaimed the title of the hottest job market from close competitor San Francisco," the company concluded. The New York metropolitan area is currently attracting the highest number of job seekers from other parts of the country. The ratio of job seekers to job postings in New York currently sits at 2:1. Among the firms doing the most high-end hiring in the region are MetLife, Avaya, Schering-Plough, and Merck.

Elsewhere, San Francisco and Boston have also seen exceptional strength in the technology and financial sectors, respectively. Companies such as Cisco Systems, Google, Sun Microsystems, Fidelity Investments and Liberty Mutual are all looking to increase their management rolls in the San Francisco and Boston. Likewise, a very low ratio of job seekers to job postings has swept across San Diego, Washington D.C., Seattle, Austin, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Baltimore, and Minneapolis.

The tightest markets were Detroit, Tampa, and Dallas. All three have seen decreases in out-of-state job searches and stiff competition for every available opening.

Online job posting behemoth Monster reported that its monthly employment index rose for March, demonstrating broad growth in online job demand. Notably there was a high demand for private-sector legal associates, law school graduates, and summer hires. Online opportunities for healthcare professionals –-both specialized practitioners and generalist support staff-– increased sharply in March. Demand for military specific occupations declined for the fourth consecutive month.

The Monster Employment Index rose eight points to 185 in March 2007. The increase in online recruitment activity was broadly based, as all nine regions of the United States' Census edged higher between February and March. While the gain pushed the Monster Employment Index to a new historical high, the Index’s current year-over-year growth rate of 13 percent reflects a softer economy now than one year ago, when the Index grew at an average annual rate of 23 percent.

During the month of March, 15 of 20 industries and 20 of 23 occupational categories tracked by the Index registered increased online job demand for workers.

“While the Monster Employment Index has registered positive growth in online recruitment activity over the past two months, and demonstrated a solid rebound from the seasonal slowdown that extended beyond the year-end holidays and into January, the Index is still showing signs of a slower annual growth pace than in previous years,” said Steve Pogorzelski, group president international at Monster Worldwide.

“The U.S. job market continues to exhibit signs of continued stability, which should be comforting to active jobseekers. However, tight labor conditions suggest a fiercely competitive environment for this year’s crop of college graduates vying for entry-level positions,” Pogorzelski said.


Jobs typically at $50,000 per year or less

Online demand for workers in the transportation and warehousing industry jumped for the second consecutive month, adding 14 points in March. The real estate and rental and leasing category also rose, gaining nine points and extending a fourth-month growth trend. The utilities sector remains the Index’s fastest growing industry on a year-over-year basis, followed closely by transportation and warehousing; and management of companies and enterprises. Online job demand for healthcare workers also surged in March, as opportunities in the healthcare practitioner and technical category (up 25 points) and healthcare support category (up 28 points) rose significantly. A growing nurse shortage, resulting from high turnover and lack of space in nursing programs, also continues drive online job recruitment activity in the healthcare industry.


Jobs typically at $100,000 per year or more

Online job availability for legal occupations registered the sharpest rate of increase among occupations in March, surging 34 points and extending a three-month growth trend. While online recruitment activity for legal professionals typically intensifies at this time of the year, the sharp increase in online recruitment activity in the earlier months of January and February suggests an overall strengthening in demand for both experienced attorneys and recent law school graduates, primarily in the private sector. 


Regions with highest growth

Year-over-year, several occupational categories are showing strong growth in online job availability including legal; protective service; and community and social services. The slowest growing categories year-over-year include military specific, transportation and material moving; and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance.

The Pacific region registering the strongest rate of growth between February and March, largely due to heightened demand in the southern California area. The West South Central region also rose sharply, gaining 15 points.  A total of 48 states, plus the District of Columbia, registered increased online job demand in March, and a majority of states remain up year-over-year.


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