The national unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in December. And employers continue to report that they are struggling to find workers—which makes this a great time for job seekers.
So where exactly are the jobs?
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that more than 210,000 new jobs were added in December. Most gains were in these areas:
- Leisure and hospitality
- Professional and business services
- Transportation and warehousing
Leisure and hospitality
The number of people working in restaurants, bars, and hotels grew from November to December. Depite the rise in COID cases nationally, it's still a good time to look for jobs in the service industry as many establishments remain open and are looking for staff.
Learn more about this field in this overview video of hospitality and tourism or explore hospitality and tourism careers.
Want to know more about your local job market for leisure and hospitality opportunities? Visit the Business Finder and search for local businesses such as restaurants, entertainment spaces, hotels, or more. Then visit the Job Finder to search by keyword, business name, or job title.
Professional and business services
Most new jobs in this area were in the professional and technical services component, which includes industries such as management and technical consulting services, scientific research and development services, and computer systems design and related service. New jobs were also added in the administrative and waste services component (which includes temporary help services). Many of these positions can be remote or virtual.
If you have experience in any of these fields, you can search local job postings, or find a remote or virtual job.
Don’t have training or experience in a professional service? There are still many work-from-home options in customer service and other areas. Visit Find a Remote Job and enter keywords like “customer service” to see what might be a good fit for you.
Many new jobs were also added in manufacturing in December. The manufacturing industry includes jobs that produce products and equipment—from commercial products such as concrete, metals, chemicals, and machinery, to personal products like computers, clothing, toys, and food and beverages. Customer demand for products continues to rise, and there are far fewer people employed in manufacturing today than there were before the pandemic, so new jobs may be more likely here in the coming months as manufacturing plants begin producing more products.
Learn more about manufacturing in this overview video of the manufacturing industry or explore manufacturing careers.
Want to know more about your local job market for opportunities in manufacturing? Visit the Business Finder and search for local by the keyword "manufacturing". Then visit the Job Finder to search by keyword, business name, or job title.
The construction industry added 20,000 jobs in December, mostly in specialty trade contractors, building construction, and in heavy and civil engineering construction.
Learn more about the construction industry in this overview video of architecture and construction or explore architecture and construction careers.
Learn more about your local job market for construction by visiting the Job Finder to search by keyword, business name, or job title.
Transportation and warehousing
Transportation and warehousing is one area where there are more jobs now than there were before the pandemic. December's growth was mostly in transportation support jobs, air transportation, and warehousing and storage, while courier and messenger jobs remained at about the same level as November.
Job openings in this industry range from entry-level warehouse and fulfillment jobs to logistics and operations manager positions. Also in demand are commercial driving jobs, which require a CDL license that can be earned in less than two months (locate a local CDL training program near you).
Learn more about this field from the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics overview video, or explore Careers in Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics.
Employment in health care remained at about the same level in December as it was in November.
While most health care provider jobs require specific training, licenses, or certifications, you can get started as a certified nursing assistant with a few months of training (find a certified nursing assistant training program in your area; they generally last from 4 to 12 weeks). Other openings for people new to health care are in customer service positions or administrative jobs at all levels.
If you already have health care experience or credentials, visit the Job Finder to search for jobs near you. You can use the Business Finder to identify health care facilities near you.
Watch the Health Sciences overview video or Careers in Health Science video to learn more about the health care field.
Then visit the Local Training Finder to learn more about health care training and credentialing options.
Employment in education remained at about the same level in December as it was in November.
View these videos to learn more: Education and training overview or Education and training careers.
Visit the Job Finder to search for education jobs near you.
Employment in retail trade was also steady from November to December. Even though more people were hired food and beverage stores and in building material and garden supply stores, jobs were lost in other kinds of stores, including general merchandise, clothing and accessory, sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores. Across the country, store owners are still reporting that it’s hard to fill their openings and many are offering higher starting wages, hiring bonuses, or extra benefits. And with the holiday shopping season already in full swing, many stores are hiring short-term workers now. This means that if you're looking for a job in retail, you might be able to consider multiple offers or ask for a higher starting wage or benefits that are important to you.
Most retail jobs are in person and you can search for “retail” or the type of store you are interested in at Job Finder. You can also search the Business Finder for stores and other retail opportunities near you.