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Job growth in Valley most likely in health care, services and technology

right, Stacie Hagenbaugh the director of the Lazarus Center of Career Development at Smith College, meets with, left, student Shama Rahman Tuesday morning.

right, Stacie Hagenbaugh the director of the Lazarus Center of Career Development at Smith College, meets with, left, student Shama Rahman Tuesday morning. Purchase photo reprints »

Job growth will continue to be very gradual in the Valley, analysts say, with fields such as health care, technology and financial services likely to offer the most new positions.

Michael Truckey, executive director of the Franklin Hampshire Career Center in Greenfield, said jobs tend to “ebb and flow” in the Pioneer Valley on a less pronounced level than in other parts of the country because “the Happy Valley hasn’t changed that much over time. You don’t have a lot of big companies moving in here ... we pretty much grow our own.”

Assuming the national economy continues its gradual recovery from the recession, state projections show that new positions could most be expected here in several areas within the health-care field, in business and public education and in technology, including hospitals and medical centers, Truckey said.

“It takes a lot of personnel to run a place like Cooley Dickinson Hospital — not just nurses and doctors, but the people who handle the computer systems, information technology, patient registration and the medical technology itself,” he said.

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has projected slight job growth in the Pioneer Valley for the period 2011 through 2013 in a number of areas. Here’s a snapshot:

• Personal care aides: 4 percent

• Market research analysts: 2.7 percent

e_SBlt Medical secretaries: 2.9 percent

• Network and computer systems administrators: 2.5 percent

• EMTs, paramedics, physicians and surgeons: 1.9 percent

e_SBlt Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants: 1.3 percent

For seasonal work, as much as a 7 percent increase is projected for farm, nursery and greenhouse workers, while smaller increases are anticipated for elementary and secondary school teachers, based on retirements of older teachers.

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development also anticipates small declines in job openings in professions such as carpentry, machine operation, package handling and retail sales, although Truckey said the latter can fluctuate based on overall consumer confidence.

“If people are buying more, it stands to reason those numbers will go up,” he said.

According to a recent report by Benchmarks, an economic journal published by the University of Massachusetts and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the state’s overall economy grew by about 1 percent in the last quarter of 2012, even as the U.S. economy contracted slightly during the same period.

The unemployment rate in Massachusetts is also lower than the national rate at 6.7 percent compared to 7.8 percent.


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News stories during the past few years have painted a grim picture of job prospects for recent college graduates. Blaring headlines have declared that across the nation as many as half of the members of class of 2012 are looking for work, working part-time, or scraping by in lower-paid jobs unconnected to their degrees. A closer look at the issue …

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