5 Bright Spots in a Dim Jobs Picture

Where the jobs are

Finding bad news in Friday’s job report wasn’t hard — job growth was way below projections, the unemployment rate still hovers above 9%, and most industries saw job losses in June. But a few sectors created jobs and have been doing so for months, bucking the national trend and giving workers hope. Here’s a look at a few of the bright spots from the government’s latest numbers.

Computer Technology

More than 34,000 positions were created in computer technology this year alone, marking the industry’s biggest six-month growth in jobs since 2007.

An increasing dependence on information technology should keep prospects bright for those who develop and maintain software systems.

Leisure and hospitality

These jobs might not pay big bucks, but their numbers are growing. Positions in the accommodation and food industry jumped about 125,000 in June to more than 11.3 million in the past six months. Despite the high numbers, the news could be better: After steep declines in recent years, available jobs have just now returned to 2006 levels. But prospects are looking up, as consumers slowly start to eat out and take vacations after several years of decline.


Almost 50,000 mining jobs have been added in 2011, with 8,000 in June alone. Another 30,000 jobs have been created in mining support industries since the beginning of the year.

The growth has been sustained: Jobs in the industry have risen for 18 consecutive months. Mining employment has increased by almost 12% since a historic low in October 2009, according to the data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Strong demand for metals from developing countries continues to grow, and U.S. mines provide much of the world’s supply. Meanwhile overtime has been significantly slashed in coalmines, keeping jobs around.

Ambulatory health care services

Employment in the sector continues to boom — more than 77,000 jobs were created so far this year in ambulatory health care services, or all medical services that don’t require a hospital visit or overnight stay. The field now numbers than 6 million, a 20% spike since 2006.

Contrast that with hospitals, where job creation has remained relatively flat during 2011. Health care experts point to an increase in technology that’s led to more procedures and treatments without a hospital visit or overnight stay.

Accounting and computer services

More than 50,000 jobs in accounting and bookkeeping have been created since January, and the trend is expected to continue. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts more than 200,000 new accounting jobs by 2018. An increase in the number of businesses hiring accountants, coupled with more regulations and amped-up accountability standards, has led to more positions. Those with global knowledge and a willingness to move and travel should especially benefit.