The U.S. economy is facing tough times. So how can a worker remain competitive? Despite market conditions, there still are some growth...

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The U.S. economy is facing tough times. So how can a worker remain competitive?

Despite market conditions, there still are some growth areas. The largest opportunity for job growth appears to be in the health-care sector, blossoming in part due to the needs of an aging population. In the past year, health-care employment grew by 368,000 jobs.

Mining jobs related to oil and gas also increased. Analysts predict jobs in education, business services, and leisure and hospitality may grow in the coming years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation Summary forecasts “more than three out of every 10 new jobs created in the new economy will be either health services and social assistance or public/private education services sector.”

“Green” jobs may blossom

We may also see growth in jobs related to new interest in “green” products and services.

For example, jobs may crop up to support the development and sale of renewable energy sources and recycled products. Increasing demand for locally grown organic foods may create more opportunities for farmers, restaurants and grocers.

What can workers do to remain marketable? Individuals who can adapt and mold their skills to changing needs may have more opportunities. Education is important, and continuous learning shows employers you are willing to acquire new skills and knowledge.

As more U.S. businesses operate overseas, fluency in two or more languages may be in demand.

Employers may place greater emphasis on your ability to be innovative and demonstrate advanced problem-solving skills to help solve business challenges.

Update computer skills

Lastly, technology skills can be critical for many career paths. At a minimum, you can help yourself by staying up on computer skills and remaining proficient since it is an essential requirement for many American businesses.

For more insight into work-force trends, the Occupational Outlook Handbook is a valuable resource. Published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it provides information on hundreds of different jobs in the work force.

Job seekers can find valuable insight into the job market in each state, including who’s hiring, training and education required for the jobs identified, average earnings and more. You can see it online at www.bls.gov/OCO/.