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Phoenix Forward

5 industries that are hiring

Is it possible that the job market is finally looking up? U.S. unemployment figures are showing signs of moderate recovery, with the unemployment rate decreasing to 8.2 percent in March, the sixth straight monthly decline. If you're looking for a new job or career path, here are five industries that experts tell us could be on the upswing:

Nursing services.

1. Health care services

With the aging baby boomer population, the health care services industry is likely to keep growing for a long time. "Not necessarily in hospitals, but in areas like home health care, such as assisted-living services, jobs where you are helping people who have health issues and [who] are declining — those types of services are booming," explains Sandra Abbey, who teaches in the MBA program at the University of Phoenix Southern Arizona Campus.

IT.

2. Knowledge and information services

Given the abundance of smartphones and tablets, Abbey also sees tremendous growth in the information-services sector. "People who can deal with knowledge and create applications so that everyday people can find out what they want to know at a moment's notice" will find more job opportunities in the computer technology industry, she says. "Everyone is so connected these days. Having the skills to manage and use that information is a valuable resource."

Boutique.

3. Boutique retail and food

With Internet commerce making many products available worldwide, traditional department store retail has shrunk. But Abbey sees growth in many small niche markets for specialty retail and food outlets, both in physical stores and online. "There has been such a strong trend for buy local, eat local," says Abbey, who also works as senior director of administrative services for the Tucson Airport Authority. "It's important to have a niche today. I've seen a lot of development of specialty shops and small boutique restaurants."

Solar energy.

4. Renewable or green energy

Although solar power took a hit when Solyndra went bankrupt last year, Nancy Wood, who teaches undergraduate human resource management courses for University of Phoenix online and has worked in human resources retail management for 20 years, thinks the green energy sector is continuing to expand. "Eventually alternative energy is going to really take off, because that's where we're heading, away from fossil fuels," she says. "So if you are an engineering technician who specializes in electronics or electricity, or thinking of becoming one, you're going to be in business for a long time."

Hands of Support.

5. Human resources

Once upon a time, HR was just the department that issued paychecks, but as the world has gotten more complex, so too has the HR field. "This is a hugely growing industry because it's become very diverse and requires more staff," Wood explains.

Today HR departments oversee training and development, organizational management, benefits and compensation, labor relations, diversity needs, international issues, employee relations, ethics, safety, and security. Not to mention, says Wood, "keeping tabs on what employees are tweeting about your company online."

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