According to numbers just released by the Bureau of Labor Services (BLS) on December 31st, there were more than 2.5 million job opening out there, just waiting to be filled. That was on the last day of the year, folks, so that number does not reflect temporary holiday positions.
So what fields offer the most opportunities?
Where the Jobs Are
At the top of the list in the private sector is Education and Health Services, which had 550,000 openings. They're followed by Professional and Business Services, which had 415,000 openings, and Trade, Transportation and Utilities, which had 361,000 openings. These numbers say a lot for the value of education, as many of the best jobs in the top two fields require college degrees or special certificates.
Where the Jobs Are NOT
The fields which had the fewest openings included Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, which had 22,000 openings, and Construction, with only 53,000 openings. The latter is not surprising, however, since construction generally slows down in the winter months when whether conditions make it difficult to work outside. The next lowest number of opportunities is in the manufacturing industry, which had only 175,000 openings.
Best and Worst Places for Jobs
Now when you measure the current job situation by regions and hires, more people got jobs in the South than in any other segment of the US. There were 1,506,000 hires in Dixie in the month of December. The Northeast had the worst hiring numbers, with 748,000 people getting new jobs. The West added 903,000 hires, and the Midwest added 900,000, for a total of 4,073 million hires in the last month of 2009.
Even In This Economy People Are Quitting!
Interestingly enough, about 1, 401,000 workers actually quit their jobs in December. More people in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector voluntarily left their jobs than in any other sector (348,000) while Mining and Logging saw the fewest people quit their jobs (3,000). The South had the most quits (573,000) which would explain the fact that it also has the most openings. Not surprisingly, the fewest people voluntarily left their jobs in the Northeast (209,000).
The Bottom Line...
So, at least on December 31st, an Education and Health Services worker in the South would have the best chance of getting a job. Best of luck to you if you're in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation in the Northeast. If you are employed, you might think about taking a starving actor out to lunch.