The numbers don't lie: unemployment is still high in the U.S., with recovery coming too slow for many. But there are places where things are looking up. In these industries and these 10 states where unemployment has fallen over the past year, you may be able to get a job.
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When unemployment in other states goes into the double digits, Minnesota's job market is looking better with a 7% unemployment rate - a 1.4% drop in the past year. Growing job sectors are in education and health services, government and professional and business services, each gaining a thousand jobs or more this year alone.
The state of Vermont may just be the place you'll find your next job. Vermont's unemployment rate dropped more than a percentage point in the last year, now at 6.2%. If you're looking for a job in finance or government, Vermont is the place to be, with finance seeing a 1.6% increase in the last 12 months, at a time of turmoil for that sector. (Preparation can help you land on your feet after getting the "old heave-ho". Learn how in Planning For Unemployment.)
Although Oregon had a depressing unemployment rate of 11.6% last year, that rate has since dropped a full percentage point to date. Government jobs grew by the largest amount, creating 7,200 new jobs since December - but unlike most other states, hospitality industry jobs also saw some growth in Oregon this past year.
- North Dakota
Maybe all that snow doesn't put North Dakota at the top of your list of places to live. But if you're looking for a job, maybe it should be: North Dakota's unemployment rate is a meager 3.6%, down 0.8% from last year. You'll find job growth in just about every industry but IT and manufacturing - even construction, an industry with the worst job losses in most states - saw growth in North Dakota, by 5.4% this year. Mining and logging gained a whopping 11.8% since December, making North Dakota the place to go for jobs.
- South Carolina
Unemployment is still high in South Carolina at 11%, but it has dropped 1.5 through 2010. Professional and business services, government and finance saw the strongest growth, so far, gaining an approximately 20,000 jobs within the three sectors. Things may just be looking up for jobseekers in South Carolina. (Does your career not make the cut of thriving jobs? Check out Dying Careers And How To Survive Them.)
Wisconsin gained 35,000 jobs over the past six months, dropping its unemployment rate by 0.7% to 8.2% since mid-2009. Like many states, Wisconsin's job growth is strongest in education and health services, as well as in government.
Indiana has an unimpressive 10% unemployment rate - but it's down 0.6% over the past year. What's noteworthy about Indiana's gaining industries is that they're in blue-collar jobs, like mining and manufacturing, as well as professional and business services, showing diversity in growth.
Hospitality jobs are on the rise as well - a positive sign for this state. Some industries though, particularly construction, have seen a steady decrease in employment availability. (Can you make an elite salary with a basic education? Yes you can! Don't miss Six-Figure Jobs You Don't Have To Go To College For.)
- North Carolina
Like Indiana, North Carolina's unemployment is still in the double figures at 10.3%, but saw job gains to drop this figure 0.9% from February. Government jobs and professional and business services saw the biggest growth in this state, gaining 24,000 and 7,600 jobs respectively since December. Education and health services, as well as mining and logging also saw gains, a promising trend for jobseekers in North Carolina.
Kansas' unemployment rate is below average at 6.5%, down half a percentage point from last year. So where are these new jobs? There's a minor rise in education, health and government jobs, but the biggest growth is in the blue collar industry. Mining and logging, as well as construction have produced respectable improvements since the start of this year - good news for these hard-hit industries. (Making a lateral career move could be the best move you make. Find out when it's worth moving over when you can't move up in 6 Reasons To Make A Lateral Career Move.)
- South Dakota
South Dakota's unemployment rate is well below average at 4.6% - a 0.4% drop from last year. Government, education and health services jobs account for most of this growth, with blue collar jobs still lagging in this state. South Dakota did see a 500-job gain in transportation and utilities, an unusual trend worth noting.
The Bottom Line
So what does this mean to you? If you've been unemployed a while, look at some of these states for gains in your industry. Also consider cost of living: states like North or South Dakota can be easier on the wallet when it comes to housing and other expenses. In this tough job market, don't be afraid to look beyond the state line for your next job move. Even if it means you'll be wearing snow boots.
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