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Bankrate's 2008 Financial Forecast
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What is the job outlook for 2008?

Want to know the job outlook for next year where you live? How about where you'd like to live?

Like the weather, job forecasts are largely local. If you're sitting in Detroit, your options are going to be vastly different than if you live in Orlando, Fla.

Even within a region, there are winners and losers depending on the industry and the belches and hiccups of the local economy.

On the whole, it looks like the West and the South are going to do best in the race for adding jobs.

"Hiring activity is expected to remain strongest in the South and West," says Jennifer Grasz, spokeswoman for CareerBuilder.com, an online job search site.

The big winner will be the Mountain states, with a projected job growth of 2.8 percent, a rate twice that of the projected 1.3 percent national average, according to estimates from NPA Data Services in Arlington, Va. The southern part of the East Coast, from Washington, D.C. to Florida, is expected to post the second highest growth rate at 1.9 percent, according to NPA numbers.

Overall, the country's job market is slowly growing. From October 2006 to October 2007, the country's job market increased 1.2 percent, according to numbers from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The 2007 job market "is slower than it was last year," says Grasz. "We're still seeing solid hiring in certain areas" (like health care, IT, sales and professional and business services), she says, adding that it should continue in 2008.

Some expect job growth to slow even more next year.

"As the economy slows at the end of this year, we're likely to see the unemployment rate grow and job growth slow," says Jared Bernstein, senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute.

Unemployment is expected to be "in the low to mid 5s (percent) by the middle of next year," he says. "That implies slower job growth."

Still, he says, some fields like health care and education are expected to see "a disproportionate share of job growth."

"And sectors that involve disposable income -- like restaurants and bars -- have been adding jobs," he says. "But retail is doing quite badly."

-- Posted: Dec. 10, 2007
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