1. For a report titled “An economy that works: Job creation and America’s future,” McKinsey Global Instititute conducted research that included sector analysis, interviews with human resource executives, a survey of business leaders and the firm’s own scenario analysis and modeling.

    According to McKinsey, the U.S would need to create 21 million new jobs to put unemployed Americans back to work and employ a growing population. Only the most optimistic scenario shows a return to full employment before 2020. The report notes, as others have, that the length of recovery after each recession since WWII gets longer and longer.

    Also, according to the report, “too few Americans who attend college and vocational schools choose fields of study that will give them the specific skills that employers are seeking.” McKinsey cited a few specific vocations that, based on its interviews, employers expect to have more vacancies than they can fill. Here are the five professions mentioned in the report, along with some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (I have no idea what sort of track record the BLS has for its projections, so be warned).

    Nutritionists

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook entry on Dietitians and Nutritionists:

    2010 Median Pay: $53,250 per year or $25.60 per hour

    Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree (along with state certification)

    Job Outlook, 2010-20: 20% (Faster than average)

    According to the Wikipedia nutritionist entry:

    Some use the terms “dietitian” and “nutritionist” as basically interchangeable. However in many countries and jurisdictions, the title “nutritionist” is not subject to professional regulation; any person may call themselves a nutrition expert even if they are wholly self-taught.[2] In most US states, parts of Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, the term nutritionist is not legally protected, whereas the title of dietitian can be used only by those who have met specified professional requirements. One career counselor attempting to describe the difference between the two professions to Canadian students suggested “all dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.”

    According to the Wikipedia dietitian entry:

    Besides academic education, dietitians must complete at least 1200 hours of practical, supervised experience through an accredited program before they can sit for the registration examination. In a coordinated program, students acquire internship hours concurrently with their coursework. In a didactic program, these hours are obtained through a dietetic internship that is completed after obtaining a degree.

    Welders

    According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook entry on Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers:

    2010 Media pay: $35,450 per year or $17.04 per hour.

    Entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent (“Training ranges from a few weeks of school or on-the-job training for low-skilled positions to several years of combined school and on-the-job training for highly skilled jobs.”)

    Job Outlook, 2010-2020: 15% (About average)

    Nurse’s aides

    According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook entry for Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants:

    2010 Median Pay: $24,010 per year or $11.54 per hour.

    Entry-level education: Postsecondary non-degree award

    Job outlook 2010-20: 20% (Faster than average)

    Nuclear technicians

    According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Nuclear technicians assist physicists, engineers, and other professionals in nuclear research and nuclear production. They operate special equipment used in these activities and monitor the levels of radiation that are produced.”

    2010 Median Pay: $68,090 per year, $32.73 per hour.

    Entry-level education: Associate’s degree (plus extensive on the job training)

    Job Outlook, 2010-20: 14% (About as fast as average)

    Computer specialists and engineers

    This is obviously a giant bucket that includes a wide range of jobs. I don’t know much about traditional engineering fields like civil or mechanical engineering, but computer tech changes quick. People with the right skills can command high salaries, but people with outdated skills can be unemployed for years at a time. My colleague Alex Williams recently wrote about which tech skills are growing fastest (hint: mobile application development is huge).

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