1. Utilities On Top: This proved to be the top-moving sector in the December Index. Annual Index growth for the sector accelerated from 18 percent in November to 28 percent in December as sector employers ramped up online opportunities at the end of the year.
Behind the rise was strong demand for field workers ahead of the winter months, especially in the Midwest and Northeastern regions. Aside from seasonal factors, demand appears driven by a push for technological/infrastructure upgrades.
2. Headwinds in the Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services Sector; Finance and Insurance Sectors Show Gains: This is where annual growth slowed as a result of deeper than usual reductions in recruitment in December. A sub-sector in the Finance/insurance industry worth watching is M&A.
Even as corporate and consumer lending persists at a relatively stagnant level, it is undeniable that a sizable number of companies are profitable, which often leads to a rise in M&A activity as venture funds try to realized gains from previous investments.
3. Health Care and Social Assistance Sector Stable but Growing: The healthcare/social assistance sector has historically been one of the most stable in the Index. While healthcare is a very broad sector, we do see increased demand for talent with experience as occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech pathologists.
4. Technology Gains Big: As an occupational category, computer and mathematical has consistently shown 20% annual index growth rate. This is also one of the biggest occupational categories by measure of job postings in the Index, so the recent rise reflects a robust turn in hiring trends.
Opportunities are especially expanded in the small business sector, as smaller companies begin investing in tech with the ongoing recovery. This trend will likely continue in 2011 with increased demand in the long term for security specialists, software engineers and Web developers.
5. Hiring Increases for Front Line Sales Positions: Finally, as we have seen in the past as we came out of the 2001-2002 period, as the economy grows and recovers from challenging economic times; businesses want to capitalize on this growth by garnering additional sales/revenue.
Once businesses feel they have sustainable new growth, business will hire support personnel to service this new business, which might include Customer Service Representatives, Consultants, Marketing Specialists, Sales Reporting Analysts and similar support positions.