See our other posts on the top jobs in various states.
In this post, we use Analyst (EMSI’s web-based labor market analysis tool) to pinpoint the best jobs in Florida for 2012. We’ll be scouting out three main criteria: (1) pay, (2) growth since 2007 (when the economy tanked), and (3) concentration.
Our observations are based solely on labor market data from EMSI’s 2011.4 Complete Employment release, which is drawn from 80+ state and federal data sources, and includes workers not covered by unemployment insurance (e.g., self-employed workers). Keep in mind — because of the time lag in Bureau of Economic Analysis releases, our most recent years of proprietor data (2010-2011) are still estimates.
So what is the overall job picture in Florida? Since 2007, jobs have dipped from 10.5 million to just over 10 million. That’s a loss of 446,000 jobs, or 4.3%. (This factors in the slight increase in jobs during 2010-11.) Current estimates put unemployment at 970.7K out of a population of 19 million. Average earnings for a Florida employee are $45K a year. In 2010, there were approximately 291,000 completions in higher ed programs.
The following table gives us the highest-paying jobs in the state — i.e., jobs that pay over $40 an hour (2011 median hourly wage). Not surprisingly, there’s a cluster of healthcare-related jobs near the top: physicians & surgeons ($69.84), oral & maxillofacial surgeons ($69.25), orthodontists ($62.76), pharmacists ($51.56), and dentists (general) ($49.07). Outside the healthcare sphere, the biggest wages go to airline pilots, copilots, & flight engineers ($62.91), air traffic controllers ($52.24), and engineering managers ($49.58).
[table id=245 /]
Other interesting facts that we should note:
- Physicians & surgeons has added the most jobs from 2007 to 2011 — close to 4,000 new jobs.
- Physician assistants has the best proportional growth — up 17% (600 new jobs).
- Air traffic controllers has the highest concentration with an LQ (location quotient) of 1.39. (LQ is a way of measuring the concentration or specialization of a job in a particular region. The national average for LQ is 1.00. The higher the LQ, the more unique the job is to that area. For more on concentration, click here.)
- Nine of the 19 jobs on this chart are healthcare-related (SOC code 29), and all nine have grown since 2007, if only by a little — such as oral & maxillofacial surgeons (9 new jobs, +2%) and orthodontists (2 new jobs, +1%).
- Seven jobs are management occupations (SOC code 11), but most of these are in decline. Chief executives (1,000 new jobs) and natural sciences managers (100 new jobs) have done okay, but the other five are going down — such as sales managers (-740 jobs, -4%) and engineering managers (-548, -11%).
- A big chunk of the the jobs here require either a first professional degree or a degree plus work experience. Only three of them require a master’s degree (physician assistants), a bachelor’s degree (airline pilots), or long-term on-the-job training (air traffic controllers).
A few explanations might be helpful (gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics):
Natural sciences managers plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and research and development in these fields.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgery on mouth, jaws, and related head and neck structure to execute difficult and multiple extractions of teeth, to remove tumors and other abnormal growths, to correct abnormal jaw relations by mandibular or maxillary revision, to prepare mouth for insertion of dental prosthesis, or to treat fractured jaws.
Prosthodontists construct oral prostheses to replace missing teeth and other oral structures to correct natural and acquired deformation of mouth and jaws, to restore and maintain oral function, such as chewing and speaking, and to improve appearance.
To find the fastest-growing jobs, we’ll split our study into two angles: one looking at the occupations that have added the highest number of new jobs, and another looking at the occupations with the greatest proportional growth. (Note: We’re limiting our analysis to the jobs that pay over $30 an hour and employ 1,000+ people. We’re also excluding educational occupations.)
So which occupations have added the most jobs since 2007?
[table id=246 /]
Physicians & surgeons takes an overwhelming lead with close to 4,000 new jobs. After that come lawyers (2,800), physical therapists (2,000), computer software engineers (applications) (1,000), and chief executives (1,000).
Other noteworthy details:
- Five of the nine jobs are related to healthcare.
- Physical therapists (LQ 1.16) and lawyers (1.15) have the highest concentration.
- Lawyers have the biggest total number of jobs: 58,000.
A couple more descriptions:
Medical scientists (except epidemiologists) conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, technical writing, or related activities. Includes medical scientists such as physicians, dentists, public health specialists, pharmacologists, and medical pathologists.
Occupational therapists assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to disabled persons.
Now let’s turn to the jobs that have grown by the greatest percentage. Topping the chart with 18% growth is medical scientists (except epidemiologists), followed by physician assistants (17%) and physical therapists (16%).
[table id=247 /]
- Again, a bunch of healthcare jobs — nine out of 13 on this chart.
- Most impressive overall growth is in physical therapists, which grew by 16% and added 2,000 jobs, and physicians & surgeons, which grew by only 9% but added nearly 4,000.
- Nuclear medicine technologists have the greatest concentration with an LQ of 1.96 — pretty high for Florida. Commercial pilots (1.51), radiation therapists (1.43), and air traffic controllers (1.39) stand next in line.
Nuclear medicine technologists prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
Radiation therapists provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
Remember, when we look at the most concentrated jobs in Florida, we’re looking at the jobs with the greatest regional specialization — the most compelling jobs for the state. (Here, again, we apply a filter that limits us to the jobs with 1000+ employees.) At the top of the table are construction & related workers (all other) (3.64), airfield operations specialists (3.51), and ship engineers (3.16).
[table id=255 /]
- Four of the most concentrated jobs are related to personal care and service (SOC code 39)—not a shocker, given all the condos and resorts. And these jobs are on their way up: concierges (LQ 2.01, +99 jobs), personal care & service workers (all other) (LQ 1.93, +1,100 jobs), baggage porters & bellhops (LQ 1.90, +66 jobs), and amusement & recreation attendants (LQ 1.90, + 600 jobs).
- Three of the jobs are related to construction and extraction (SOC code 47). But they have all slumped significantly since 2007: construction & related workers (all other) (LQ 3.60, -6,700 jobs), helpers, roofers (LQ 2.30, -1,500 jobs) and helpers, construction trades (all other) (LQ 2.01, -1,700 jobs).
- Another three of the most concentrated jobs are related to transportation and material moving (SOC code 53). They all show moderate growth: airfield operations specialists (LQ 3.49, +55 jobs), ship engineers (LQ 3.15, +118), and captains, mates, & pilots of water vessels (LQ 1.91, +65 jobs).
- Most of these jobs require short- or moderate-term on-the-job training, and most of them pay $8-$15 an hour. Operations research analysts is the only one that requires a master’s degree, and it pays better at $25.81. Nuclear medicine technologists requires an associate’s degree, and is the only job paying over $30 an hour.
One more definition:
Airfield operations specialists ensure the safe takeoff and landing of commercial and military aircraft. Duties include coordination between air-traffic control and maintenance personnel; dispatching; using airfield landing and navigational aids; implementing airfield safety procedures; monitoring and maintaining flight records; and applying knowledge of weather information.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
So if we roll the three criteria together — pay, growth, concentration — what are Florida’s best jobs for 2012? Physicians & surgeons has the fattest pay check ($69.84) and notable growth (9%, nearly 4,000 new jobs since 2007). Physical therapists is also worth checking out: $33.15 an hour, 16% growth (2,000 new jobs), and an LQ of 1.16. Air traffic controllers doesn’t have as many new jobs (250), but its proportionate growth is good (14%), it pays well at $52.24 an hour, and it has reasonably good concentration for the state (1.39).
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