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Be the Change

Be the Change
Emerging technology markets offer new job opportunities

With California's jobless rate dipping to a seasonally adjusted 10.9% earlier this year — the lowest since early 2009 — the state's economic recovery seems to be in full swing. The key question now is: What jobs and careers will continue to grow rather than stagnate?

Even during buoyant economic times, the job market is constantly changing. But after a four-year slump, a bigger than normal shake-out is in the cards. Some Southland careers are still in the dumps while others are on the upswing. "Industries that are technology-oriented are growing the most rapidly," said Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist at the UCLA Anderson Forecast. "Also, those industries that are oriented around exports, including transportation and logistics."

Among areas that Nickelsburg singles out for having the brightest prospects are the entertainment industry, biotech and pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, software development and computer design, leisure, hospitality, education and healthcare. "Where we see shrinkage — and expect to see continued shrinkage — is in construction, government, retail and that part of manufacturing that is not technology-oriented."

In its 2012-2013 Economic Forecast and Industry Outlook report, the Kyser Center for Economic Research says that California outperformed the nation in nonfarm job growth in 2010-2011 with 193,900 jobs being created for a 1.4% annual gain vs. the nation's 1.2% gain.

According to the report, international trade from Los Angeles has increased from $283 billion in 2009 to $370 billion last year, while technology jobs stabilized in 2011 after trend and cyclical decreases in the last decade, with jobs in aerospace, computer systems design and computer electronic manufacturing totaling over 500,000. The report also says that California's tourism industry continues to rebound since the 2009 recession, with Los Angeles reporting a 12.3% increase in room revenues in 2011 over 2010.
Most industries in the state registered gains during this period, according to the report, with the largest gains in information and education as well as in administrative and support services. Real estate, government and construction saw job losses "but on a smaller scale than in previous years," the report noted.

But getting a job in today's economy is by no means the end of the story. "Once hired, it's important to remain in the mode of being a continual learner," said John P. Carvana, executive director of career development at Loyola Marymount University. "That means taking advantage of any and all opportunities to improve your technical skills by taking classes, getting an advanced degree and attending conferences and seminars." One way to do this is to enroll in one of the many accelerated, extension and executive programs offered by Southern California colleges and universities.

The College of Continuing & Professional Education at Cal State Long Beach ( is a good example of what's on offer at Southland institutions for lifelong learning. As the community outreach branch of the university, CCPE offers more than 550 career and professional development programs — many of them in growing areas like computer animation, digital design, engineering and information technology and entertainment, as well as healthcare and international trade and transportation.

Nickelsburg advised that if you find yourself in a dead-end job or career, it's never too late to change track. "If you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s — and you've been working for the last decade building houses — you might seriously consider healthcare or education or something involving computers. Change to a career in an expanding field and have many more opportunities."

Joe Yogerst
Custom Publishing Writer