Looking for a job? Follow the money

Want a job? Try tech
Want a job? Try tech

Many well-known companies added workers last year. It shouldn't be a big surprise that tech firms were among the biggest job creators.

Tech consulting and outsourcing firm Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH) increased its headcount by more than 40,000 people in 2014.

That made Cognizant the biggest job creator in the S&P 500 according to an analysis of data for the most recent fiscal year compiled by FactSet Research. Another big IT services firm, Accenture (ACN), added 30,000 workers.

Demand for their products and services is up, and they needed more workers to fulfill obligations to clients, the companies said.

Related: Where the jobs are now

Tech is hot: This trend isn't a surprise to anyone who watches the stock market. The tech sector is booming again. The Nasdaq is back near its all-time highs from 2000. And it's not just companies that help businesses manage their tech departments that are hiring.

Companies that cater to consumers' love of gadgets have been adding workers too. Amazon (AMZN) boosted its workforce by 36,800 last year while Apple (AAPL) added 12,300 positions to its payrolls.

companies added jobs
These are some of the blue chip companies that added lots of jobs last year.

Microsoft (MSFT) added 29,000 jobs, but it's important to note that many of them came from its acquisition of Nokia's (NOK) device business. Microsoft also announced 18,000 layoffs last year.

Still, it's clear that the tech sector is in expansion mode. Google (GOOGL), Corning (GLW), SanDisk (SNDK), Facebook (FB) and Salesforce.com (CRM) also added thousands of jobs in 2014.

Related: Americans just aren't spending

Good paying jobs: Tech jobs tend to have higher salaries than other industries. So if this trend continues, that could be a good sign for the overall economy considering that sluggish wage growth is the main weakness in the job market right now.

Outside of tech, UPS (UPS) and Whirlpool (WHR) also made the top five for jobs growth.

It will be interesting to see if these companies and others whose fortunes are closely tied to the health of the overall economy will be able to keep adding workers now that there are concerns about a consumer spending slump in the first quarter.

Related: Atlanta Fed cuts U.S. economic growth forecast to zero

Check the stock prices: Many retailers added jobs in 2014. The common theme among the businesses adding jobs? Rising stock prices.

Kroger (KR), Starbucks (SBUX), Costco (COST), Tractor Supply (TSCO) and CVS (CVS) were among the top 20 job creators in the S&P 500. The shares of all five companies are not far from their record highs.

It's true that Wall Street often seems to operate in a different galaxy than Main Street. Bad economic news can cause market rallies and companies get rewarded for handing out pink slips.

But that's really a short-term phenomenon. Over the long haul, the companies with strong fundamentals are the ones that do best.

Related: The U.S. economy is showing cracks

They are the ones with healthy sales and profits. And guess what? These companies have to keep hiring to keep up with demand, especially when they are opening new stores.

Sure, retail jobs may not pay as well as tech, finance or other sectors. But at least these well-known companies were adding jobs.

IBM (IBM), McDonald's (MCD), Target (TGT), Bank of America (BAC), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Best Buy (BBY) did not.

These blue chips all slashed the size of their workforces last year and were among the 10 biggest job destroyers in the S&P 500.

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