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Excerpted from the United States Career Guide

General Trends

The US’s economic recovery has been slow. The country has finally regained all of the jobs lost since the global recession of 2007. However, not all of the nation’s industries have recovered equally; according to a Bloomberg report, only half of the ten major industries in the US have reached pre-recession employment levels. Nearly all of the recovery has been in the services industries – health care, leisure and dining and businesses services. Employment in the transportation and mining sectors has also reached or exceeded pre-recessionary levels. Conversely, construction payrolls are still 20 percent below the pre-recession peak, and employment remains down in manufacturing, retail, government and finance.

Employment Outlook

This year, 57 percent of employers in the US report plans to hire new graduates, up from 53 percent last year. According to a recent survey of current recruiting trends by Michigan State University’s College Employment Research Institute, the degrees most in demand are in computer science and engineering, economics, accounting, marketing, human resources and public relations.

Areas of Job Promise

According to U.S. News & World Report, the fastest-growing occupations by 2020 will be in health care (technical, professional and support occupations), community service, education and jobs requiring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills.

U.S. News also lists the following fields projected to see the greatest growth by 2020:

1. Data crunching: making sense and use of the vast amounts of currently available data. This is especially useful for marketing and marketing research.

2. Counseling and therapy: as mental health has come to be valued just as much as physical health, the need for marriage and family therapists is expected to grow by 41 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

3. Scientific research: workers with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, math and engineering will be needed to keep pace with breakthroughs in new technology. Areas of particular promise are in biotechnology, biomedicine, nanotechnology, robotics and 3D printing.


Americans don’t earn much more than they did five years ago; when adjusted for inflation, wages are about the same as they were at the beginning of the economic recovery. Although the average hourly wage has risen by 2.1 percent from a year ago, consumer prices have risen by 2 percent. According to the latest available information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nine out of the ten highest-paying jobs in the US are medical. The only non-medical occupation in the top ten was chief executive with a mean annual salary of 178,400 USD.

The most recent salary research report by Payscale revealed that 88 percent of US companies surveyed said they planned to give pay raises this year. Broken down further, 91 percent of large companies (1,000+ employees), 83 percent of medium-sized companies (between 100 and 1,000 employees) and 91 percent of small companies (less than 100 employees) plan to give raises this year.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete United States Guide.

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