It's hard to tell if the recession is over, with the high unemployment rate. But there are strong signs of recovery in the online job market. Annual growth rate is up 21% overall since July, 2009, according to Monster's Employment Index. Here are eight occupations in which employers are hiring - using online ads - at the fastest rate. (Learn more about the compound annual growth rate, in CAGR: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.)

  1. Legal - Increase: 29%
    The legal profession covers a wide variety of occupations, from attorneys to legal assistants and secretaries. Although there's a strong increase in online job postings, it's important to note that the legal profession is cyclical: in a recession, corporations cut back their legal staff to contain costs. This upswing in hiring is a good sign that business is getting better - good news for all of us. Unless of, course, the largest increase in demand for lawyers is bankruptcy law. (Get some background info, in How To Pick The Right Lawyer.)

  2. Business and Financial Operations - Increase: 28%
    Business and financial professionals are the auditors and analysts of the business world: the guys who come in to make sure companies run most efficiently and in compliance with ever more complicated laws. It's no surprise this sector is seeing an increase in online hiring; the Department of Labor expects a 22% increase in employment for auditors and accountants, and a 24% increase for management analysts. (Learn to get the most out of your schooling, in 2 Years Of Education, A Lifetime Of Success.)

  3. Transportation and Material Moving - Increase: 27%
    It's a basic principle: if you have material or goods, they need to be moved - which is where America's material movers come in. Wholesale and retail make up the largest part of this industry, with manufacturing and warehousing coming in second. Why the increase in this sector? A large portion of experienced material movers is coming up on retirement, leaving an employment gap - a great opportunity for those looking to make a start in this industry.

  4. Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media - Increase: 25%
    The arts and related job sectors are usually hardest hit in a recession, which is why we may be seeing an upswing in hiring after it froze in 2009. Look for increased hiring in graphic and web design, marketing and public relations, as companies are looking to grow business using online media and new technology. (Learn to get the most from your freelance status, in 10 Tax Benefits For The Self-Employed.)

  5. Architecture and Engineering - Increase: 23%
    As our population grows, so does our need for buildings to live, work and shop in, which is why we need more architects. Although outsourcing of basic architectural design overseas hurts employment, American jobs in architecture and engineering are forecasted to grow by 16% over the next eight years. Think green, creative and innovative if this is your industry, and the jobs will follow. (Learn more about outsourcing, in The Globalization Debate.)

  6. Production - Increase: 22%
    Production is another sector, like transportation and material moving, that's seeing growth because such a large number of experienced workers are due to retire. The baby boomer production employees will need to be replaced by a younger work force - a great opportunity for those looking to break into this sector. Look for openings in power and energy plant operations in particular. (Find out more, in Trust In Utilities.)

  7. Construction and Extraction - Increase: 22%
    Construction was one of the hardest-hit industries last year, leaving many skilled laborers out of a job. This year is bringing jobs to this sector again, with fast growth expected for those with specialized skills, and those willing to go where the work is. Things are also looking up for construction inspectors, particularly those who have specialized experience (like an engineering background), and the proper licensing.

  8. Healthcare Support - Increase: 20%
    The retiring baby boomer generation is moving much of the job market - but none as significantly as the healthcare support sector. The Department of Labor expects this profession to grow a whopping 50% by 2018, fueled by America's aging population that will need more in-home healthcare and other support services. Although pay isn't high at an average of about $11 an hour, healthcare support is a great entry-level field with an even better job security. (Read more, in Boomers: Twisting The Retirement Mindset.)

The Bottom Line
Online job postings have increased in almost every sector according to Monster's Employment Index, with computer, education and office and administrative jobs also seeing double-digit percentage growth. So what does this mean for our economy? What's important to note about Monster's numbers is that mining, manufacturing and transportation and warehousing are the industries showing the largest growth - with mining seeing an impressive 53% gain since 2009. Any economic analyst will tell you this means an increase in production, a possible early indicator of economic recovery. Good news, even if you're not looking for a job.

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