According to the Labor Department, by early March, the job recovery in the United States was picking up speed, but unemployment was still high at 8.3%, the same number of unemployed for the previous month.
According to government figures, some 227,000 jobs, seasonally adjusted, were added to non-farm payrolls in February. But the unemployment remained steady because new job seekers entered the market, inspired by a new optimism as the economy showed signs of modest improvement.
Good Place to Start
For newcomers to the job quest, or for people resuming their search after stopping, the U.S. government offers numerous employment opportunities and may be a good place to start the hunt for work.
Thousands of federal government job openings are posted daily on the Internet in locations across the country as well as in foreign countries. About half of the current federal workforce is eligible for retirement, so numerous new opportunities become available daily, especially in healthcare, regulatory agencies and other areas of government.
Several websites offer information on job availability, and provides a good place to start a job search. These include: USA Jobs and Government Job. The most comprehensive site for government jobs is offered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Jobs are listed by occupation, government agency and geographic location. Also listed are similar employment opportunities by state and local government, and in the private sector as well.
About 85% of government jobs are in major cities across the country. Jobs may also be found on the specific government agency sites, with many openings not listed on other government sites. These jobs may be listed on USA Jobs.
The FBI, Federal Reserve, Government Accountability Office and CIA, are just a few of the agencies that may not advertise jobs on USA Jobs. Instead, job openings are posted on their individual sites.
For adventurous job seekers with a desire to work overseas, check out FedBizOpps.gov for opportunities around the world, including war zones such as Afghanistan.
Exclusive government job opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities are also available and may accessed on the U.S. OPM's site.
Keep in mind that the competition for government jobs is fierce, as it is for any job these days. Be sure you qualify, or are even over-qualified, for the job you apply for. Some job counselors advise taking a government job that may not be a perfect fit because once you go to work for the government it's easier to get a different job that may be more suitable.
Whatever your special skills and experience, there may be a place for you in a government job. The government employs a wide variety of skilled and semi-skilled workers. Below are listed the top 25 job categories, according to the U.S. OPM Central Personnel Data File
- Budget Analysis positions
- Correctional Officers
- General Education and Training positions,
- Including Instructors and Consultants
- General Biological Science positions
- Engineering Technicians
- Tax Examining positions
- General Engineers
- Electronics Engineers
- Human Resources Management positions
- Medical Officers, including Doctors
- General Inspection positions, including
- Investigators and Compliance Officers
- General Business and Industry positions
- Air Traffic controllers
- Contracting positions, including
- Contract Officers and Specialists
- Contact Representatives
- Social Insurance Administration positions
- General Attorneys
- Criminal Investigators
- Management and Program Analysis positions
- Safety Technicians
- Information Technology Management positions
- Miscellaneous Administration and Program positions
- Miscellaneous Clerks and Assistants
The Bottom Line
The federal, state, county and municipal governments are always hiring. People are retiring, leaving for other positions or just dropping out, so there's bound to be openings. Governments at every level are also launching new agencies and providing new services that require the hiring of personnel. If your search for a government job is not immediately productive, keep looking. New opportunities become available every day. If you're lucky enough to land a government job, you'll enjoy relative job security, excellent health benefits and every federal holiday off.