There were no big surprises in the November Employment report released on December 8th. Employment was up overall due to the professional and business services, retail, leisure, health and education services sectors.
The professional and business services sector grew by 43,000 jobs in the month of November, up 426,000 jobs thus far this year. Health services jobs increased by 28,000, with jobs in Ambulatory health care leading the way. And, education services jobs grew by 13,000.
Contrarily, the goods-producing sector was predictably down given the troubles of U.S. automakers, the decline in the housing market and continuing outsourcing of production.
In November, manufacturing and construction sectors lost 15,000 and 29,000 jobs, respectively. Workers in these sectors are losing more and more jobs each month, especially those in the residential building trades, as they succumb to the forces operating within the housing market–builders scaling back home starts, fewer new houses being purchased and a glut of new housing inventory.
Since February 2006, residential trade contractors have shed 109,000 jobs, 16,000 this month alone. Analysts, including Goldman Sachs’ Jan Hatzius, predict that the full impact of the housing market’s decline may not surface until next spring. Hatzius predicts that employers in the residential building sector could cut up to 600,000 jobs in the next 1-2 years, if activity in the housing market continues unchanged.
Similarly, workers in the manufacturing sector can expect an equally scary plummet as Ford and GM cut 38,000 and 35,000 jobs respectively, and companies that manufacture furniture, wood products and related products cut payroll due to the shift to overseas production and outsourcing.
There are few signs of relief on the horizon. Ford will continue to struggle beneath the mountain of debt created by $17B in buyouts and the additional $18B in debt the company hopes to take on in order to pay for it’s much-need restructuring.
GM is also undergoing a major makeover as CEO G. Richard Wagoner cuts $9B and counting and continues his fight for labor concessions and a redesign of its automobile design process.
So what does this all mean for those actively seeking employment?
If you are currently in the professional and business services arena, it’s probably as good a time as any to start shopping your resume (discreetly, of course). Many professional services firms are on the hunt for experienced hires, especially in the financial services, marketing, business consulting and administrative fields.
Jobs in the health services sector are hotter than ever. So, the same advice holds–shop your experience around. If you are looking to enter this field, now’s a great time.
Search health care services jobs!
If you are currently working in the residential construction trades, consider a move to commercial building and remodeling. Big corporations have had a great year overall and are investing their ample profits in new offices and equipment. Remodeling, carpentry and other home improvement offerings will also be pretty good bets, given that homeowners, those who can afford to hang onto their homes, will likely invest in maintaining and improving their investments.