5 Sectors: Big demand, too-few workers
Growth in demand and shortages of workers spells opportunity for these five sectors.
NEW YORK (Money) -- Help wanted - at hotels, hospitals, accounting firms and your local school and stores.
Those are among the hottest areas for jobs right now. Employers in those sectors can't hire people fast enough to meet demand or make up for shortages in skilled workers.
"We have more jobs than we have good candidates for, especially in professional jobs, from human resources to sales to accounting," said Roy Krause, CEO of Spherion, a recruiting and staffing agency.
Though the government's employment report for April released Friday showed a lower-than-expected gain of 88,000 jobs, the unemployment rate only ticked up to 4.5 percent, which is still low. In March, unemployment was 4.4 percent, matching a five-year low hit in October.
The United States is expected to create 1.6 million jobs this year, according to Moody's Economy.com. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting that by 2010, there will be 10 million more jobs than skilled workers to fill them.
According to employment services firm Manpower, 41 percent of U.S. employers are having difficulty filling positions because of a lack of available talent.
So far this year, retailers, health care providers, educational services, accounting firms and leisure and hospitality companies have been among the industries consistently boosting their payrolls. Strong demand for workers and higher wages in those sectors could absorb some of the fallout from the housing slump and downsizing in the auto industry.
"Even though we expect some weakening due to the downturn in the housing market and auto industry, that will be offset by the tight labor market and wage growth in other industries," says Sophia Koropeckyj, economist at Economy.com.
Here's a look behind what's fueling demand in some of the hottest sectors:
A hotel building boom and strong volume from both business and leisure travelers is boosting hiring in the hotel industry. Hotels posted their highest occupancy rate in a decade last year, according to Smith Travel Research.
Construction activity is soaring, with the number of new hotel project starts up 64.2 percent last year from 2005, according to data from PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
"Hotels are busier with more guests and new hotels are being built to meet the increased demand," said Bjorn Hanson, hotel industry consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
The government reported that leisure and hospitality firms added 22,000 jobs in April, with lodging and food services firms accounting for the majority of the gains. Hanson says hotels are experiencing challenges in hiring at all levels. "They need general mangers and directors of sales and marketing, as well as hourly workers," he said.
For the second year in a row, sales representatives topped the list of hardest-to-fill jobs, according to a Manpower Talent Shortage survey of 37,000 employers released in March.
Many of those sales rep jobs are in retail. But not all jobs are lower paying hourly or part-time gigs. Positions such as assistant store manager average $39,100 a year and retail buyers average $47,900, according to Payscale.com. Though overall retail trade jobs were down 26,000 in April, according to the government report, clothing, furniture, electronics and sporting goods stores all added jobs.
Teachers showed up as No. 2 on the Manpower Talent shortage survey. There's a huge demand for teachers, particularly in science and math, as public school teachers who entered the profession in the 1960s and 1970s retire and the new-teacher dropout rate hovers near 50 percent.
Alternative certification programs are helping to speed up the process of becoming a teacher but the supply isn't keeping up with demand. Salary.com projects a 14 percent growth in teaching jobs over the next 10 years.
The graying of America and long life expectancies continue to spur growth in the healthcare sector. More than 37,000 healthcare jobs were added to the economy in April, according to the government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is also projecting that demand for jobs in healthcare - from nurses and therapists to researchers and lab technicians - will be above average for all occupations through 2014.
About 3 out of every 10 new jobs created in the U.S. economy will be in either healthcare and social assistance or private educational services, according to the BLS.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 continues to boost the need for auditors and compliance experts to help companies with regulatory compliance and accounting transparency.
The growth in auditors and compliance experts has reduced the supply of experienced staff accountants and financial analysts who earn an average of $75,000 a year. In April, the government reported that 2,100 accounting and book keeping jobs were added to U.S. payrolls.