In this post, we identify some of the best occupations in Alabama for 2012, using three primary metrics: pay, concentration, and growth since 2007. This is all based purely on labor market data analysis. For each step, we interact with labor market data from EMSI’s 2011.4 data release, which is drawn from more than 80 state and federal data sources.
To gain a little perspective, we’ll start with an overview. From 2007 to 2011, jobs in Alabama declined by 3.7%. The state’s population is nearly 4.8 million people. There are 2.5 million jobs and (based on current estimates) 200,000 unemployed workers. Average annual earnings for the state is $45K.
Table 1 shows the highest-paying jobs in the state (2011 median hourly wage). Not surprisingly, healthcare occupations are at the top of the list: orthodontists ($79.56), physicians ($79.34), and dentists ($70.09). We should note, however, that orthodontists and dentists haven’t really added any new jobs since 2007. The top-paying non-healthcare jobs are engineering managers ($50.60), aerospace engineers ($48.76), and computer/information scientists ($46.32).
Here is a bit more information on the last three:
- Engineering managers plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering or research and development in these fields.
- Aerospace engineers perform a variety of engineering work in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture. May recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques.
- Computer/information scientists conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Solve or develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.
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When we consider growth and concentration as well as wages, aerospace engineers comes out on top. The career pays well at almost $50 per hour, has grown by 10% since 2007, and has an average concentration that is more than twice the average for the nation (2.28 LQ). (For more on LQ, click here.) With 18% growth, computer/information scientists has also done well, but if we consider the actual number of jobs, we see that it doesn’t have as many to offer–the total employment is 642 jobs.
To determine the fastest-growing jobs, we applied a filter so we can look at jobs earning above $25 per hour (2011 median hourly wage) and employing more than 500 workers across the state:
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The three jobs to note here would be electrical and electronics repairers (25% growth), avionics technicians (19%), and logisticians (13%). Of these, logisticians particularly stands out because, even though it increased by a smaller percent, it has more jobs overall (360 new jobs to make a total of over 3,000) and has the highest pay ($37.13). Avionics technicians, however, has the highest LQ (4.17).
- Electrical and electronics repairers inspect, test, repair, or maintain electrical equipment in generating stations, substations, and in-service relays.
- Avionics technicians install, inspect, test, adjust, or repair avionics equipment, such as radar, radio, navigation, and missile control systems in aircraft or space vehicles.
- Logisticians analyze and coordinate the logistical functions of a firm or organization. Responsible for the entire life cycle of a product, including acquisition, distribution, internal allocation, delivery, and final disposal of resources.
Table 3 shows some interesting results with the highest-concentrated jobs in the state. Here, again, we applied a filter that weeds out any job employing fewer than 500 workers:
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These jobs have some truly hefty LQs, but the most concentrated of all (roof bolters, mining) doesn’t have a whole lot of growth or jobs, and the rest are actually in decline. Another noteworthy fact is that eleven of the twenty-two occupations listed here are production-related. These are all in decline except one–aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers, which has grown by 18% (341 new jobs). We should also once again pay attention to avionics technicians (4.17 LQ) and electrical and electronics repairers (2.54). As we’ve seen earlier, both these jobs have decent pay and growth as well.
- Roof bolters, mining operate machinery to install roof support bolts in underground mine.
- Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers assemble, fit, fasten, and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles, such as tails, wings, fuselage, bulkheads, stabilizers, landing gear, rigging and control equipment, or heating and ventilating systems.
So, putting it all together, what are the top jobs in Alabama for 2012? Based on this data, aerospace and health care are the best targets. Logisticians and electrical and electronics repairers also seem interesting, and could be worth a look in 2012.
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