A few of the usual suspects headlined a recent list of the best jobs for growth in America. Stalwarts such as healthcare, engineering, technology and finance were among those considered the most sound career choices, according to government and private industry reports. Professions in business and management, database management, and human resources were also ranked highly by UCLA Extension.
"We've gone from economic survival mode to 'proper positioning,'" said Wayne Smutz, Dean of UCLA Extension. "Now that the recession is essentially behind us, the focus for many is making sure they have the skills required to compete – and advance – in a 21st-century economy."
According to UCLA Extension, the preeminent component for success in 2014 and beyond is a well-built career strategy that puts emphasis on the exact skills needed in a new economy.
"There have been fundamental changes in our economy; the key is to recognize which jobs are falling by the wayside and which ones are taking off," Smutz said. "In most situations, continuing education will give professionals the opportunity for better pay and a strengthened position for promotion."
California, for example, is adding jobs, but it is only doing so in sectors that are showing growth, according to a report from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Those careers include trade, investment and technology.
Business, management and accounting
Smutz and UCLA Extension have continued to see students fill enrollment for business, management and accounting classes. That's because those fields have proceeded to be some of the top job producers in the nation.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts an 11 percent job growth by 2020 in general management jobs, which comes to 1.7 million jobs added throughout the nation. The BLS also predicts the management sector will provide an additional four million job opportunities due to replacement needs during that span.
Finally, the report points to surging domestic competition, which is helping spur an expected 36 percent growth for cost estimator jobs.
Creating jobs is top priority
According to USA Today, the U.S. economy is expected to generate 2.6 million jobs in 2014, which is 400,000 more than in 2013. This year's job growth is mainly based on the country's expanding healthcare, energy and high-tech sectors.
"No question about it, the economy and creating jobs will be priority No. 1 for states across the country in 2014," Sujit CanagaRetna, senior fiscal analyst at the Council of State Governments, told USA Today.
Two of the states - California and Texas - will be responsible for a massive portion of the nation's jobs added in 2014. Moody's Analytics projects that these states will combine to add 572,000 jobs this year. Florida is slated to add 176,000 jobs and Arizona is predicted to thrust 77,000 new jobs into the market.
Pressure on policymakers
States across the nation are feeling the strain of a lethargic job pool, which is why elected officials in more than a dozen states recently spent time trying to land a new Boeing production facility through incentives. The facility, responsible for the new 777X jet, is slated to employ up to 8,000 workers, according to USA Today.
"There is enormous pressure on state policymakers – further complicated by the fact that 2014 is an election year – to create a suitable environment for sustained, solid job growth," CanagaRetna said.
USA Today reported that Democrats will likely try to stimulate job training and education programs while pushing for hikes to the minimum wage. Republicans, meanwhile, will try to create jobs through tax cuts.
Roughly 11 million Americans are still unemployed despite most industry professionals suggesting that the economy is on its way up.