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12 Money-Making Certificates

Laid off and looking to flee the floundering industry that sent you packing?
Not to worry: Minimum wage work is not your only option.
Whether you’re in dire need of a new career, trying to earn more at your current gig or you’re returning to work after a prolonged hiatus at home with the kids, a certificate program from a community college or vocational school is the swiftest way to pump up your earning potential.
“Many people refer to community college as the new master’s degree,” says Dr. Laurence Shatkin, author of more than a dozen books for job hunters, including 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs. “It’s a way to repurpose yourself.”
As an added bonus, countless certificate programs train you for cubicle-free jobs – good news for weary office workers who’d like a change of scenery.
Certificate programs vary in length, averaging six months to a year, with evening, weekend, and online classes frequently available. Costs range from several hundred to several thousand dollars (happily, financial aid is sometimes offered for those who qualify).
Review the list below and make note of which certificate programs appeal to you or build on what you already know.

1. Court reporter certificate program.

Can you type like the wind? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, court reporters remain in high demand — by both the justice system and the television industry, which hires these workers to create closed captioning text. Average salary: $39,781 a year.

2. Auto insurance appraiser certificate program.

Appraisers have the best of both worlds: Many split their time between the office and the field, traveling to homes and auto shops to write up repair estimates for crumpled cars. While most work for insurance companies, some are self-employed. Average salary: $50,165 a year.

3. Auto or motorcycle mechanic certificate program.

Are you happiest when wielding a wrench? “Mechanic jobs are particularly good in a recession because people are trading in their cars less,” Shatkin says. In other words, there’s no shortage of clunkers in need of repair. Average salary: $41,233 a year.

4. Massage therapist certificate program.

If you think the economy is keeping people from getting a massage, you’re wrong. The American Massage Therapy Association found that 36 percent of Americans got a massage to relieve stress in 2008, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects these jobs to increase by 20 percent before 2016. Average salary: $35,349 a year.

5. Security and fire alarm system installer certificate program.

Do you live to tinker with electronic devices? Then installing, maintaining, and repairing residential and commercial alarm systems might be the ideal career for you. Most installation work requires driving to various job sites each day. Average salary: $42,763 a year.

6. Emergency medical technician certificate program.

Why sit at a desk all day when you could be out there saving lives? Despite the recession, people will continue to “crash their cars and have heart attacks in the middle of the night,” reminds Shatkin. EMT certification requirements vary by state. Average salary: $30,530 a year.

7. Aerobics or fitness instructor certificate program.

If you’re already a workout fiend, why not get paid for pumpin’ it up? Job openings for exercise instructors are expected to increase by 25 percent over the next decade, Shatkin says, with most located at health clubs and fitness centers. Average salary: $37,113 a year.

8. Medical transcriptionist certificate program.

With healthcare the fastest-growing job sector, there’s plenty of work for those who can decipher and type up the audio recordings doctors make about their patients. While a majority of transcriptionists work in a hospital or doctor’s office, many telecommute from home. Average salary: $31,286 a year.

9. Cosmetologist certificate program.

Are you the person everyone calls for beauty advice? Then why not go pro? Cosmetologists are trained to cut, style, and chemically treat hair, as well as to treat skin and nails. Bonus: Schedules are flexible and self-employment is common. Average salary: $27,112 a year.

10. Language interpreter certificate program.

Maybe you grew up speaking two languages or picked one up while traveling abroad. If so, hospitals, courtrooms, and social service agencies need your help. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in five interpreters works for themselves, and many work part time. Plus, oftentimes, only a one-day exam is needed to be certified. Average salary: $44,175 a year.

11. Sign language interpreter certificate program.

If you enjoy working with others in multiple settings — from live performances and business conferences to schools and social service agencies — translating the spoken word for the deaf could be the job for you. Average salary: $36,278 a year.

12. Embalmer certificate program.

Preparing the dead for their final resting place isn’t for everyone. But for those with a strong constitution, there’s job security in the funeral business — people won’t stop dying simply because the economy’s taken a turn for the worse. Average salary: $38,482 a year.
Source: All salary data is from PayScale. The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

Now Hiring: 10,000 Walmart Jobs in the Chicago Area

Walmart has big plans for job creation in Illinois. The massive retailer just announced two new Chicago area stores that will boost the company to the projected creation of 10,000 jobs in the area by 2015.
Walmart is planning the newly announced small and mid-size stores in the West Englewood community, which is reported to be the heart of a “food desert” and one of Chicago‘s most under-served communities by large grocery stores.
These new stores, combined with the company’s existing projects, will create close to 1,000 new jobs and nearly 200 construction jobs. Walmart’s currently slated openings in Chicago include the following:
  • A Supercenter in Pullman at 111th St. and South Doty Ave. (opening spring 2013)
  • A Supercenter in West Chatham at 83rd St. and Stewart Ave. (opening spring 2012)
  • S Walmart Market in the West Loop at West Monroe St. and South Jefferson St. (opening fall 2011)
  • A Walmart Market in West Englewood at West 76th St. and South Ashland Ave. (opening spring 2012)
  • A Walmart Express in West Englewood at South Western Ave. and West 71st St. (opening winter 2012)
  • A Walmart Express in West Chatham at 83rd St. and Stewart Ave. (opening summer 2011)
#mini_module_blank { width: 269px; height: 206px; border: medium none; float: left; margin: 18px; font-size: 12px; }#mini_module_blank img { width: 265px; height: 131px; border: medium none; margin: 0px; }#mini_module_blank .mini_main { margin: 0px; padding: 0px; width: 269px; height: 206px; background: url(“http://www.aolcdn.com/travel/zing-background-no-photo”) repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent; }#mini_module_blank .mini_item_header { padding: 12px 0px; margin: 0px 20px; font-size: 16px; }#mini_module_blank .mini_item { padding: 8px 0px; margin: 0px 20px; border-bottom: 1px dotted rgb(204, 204, 204); }#mini_module_blank a { color: rgb(73, 163, 202); text-decoration: none; }#mini_module_blank a:hover { color: rgb(249, 132, 25); text-decoration: underline; } The Walmart Express stores are a relatively new concept. They’ll be less than 30,000 sq. ft and will sell grocery, pharmacy and limited general merchandise. Walmart Market previously called Neighborhood Market will range in size from 30,000 to 60,000 sq. ft. and provide a wider assortment of fresh groceries, as well as a bakery and delicatessen. The Walmart Supercenter is intended to be a one-stop shopping destination, offering full service grocery as well as a wide range of general merchandise.

In June 2010, Walmart announced the “Chicago Community Investment Partnership,” a five-year plan to open several dozen stores, create approximately 10,000 jobs and 2,000 unionized construction jobs, generate more than $500 million in sales and property taxes and develop charitable partnerships worth $20 million.

“When I met with Walmart last year, I encouraged them to take an approach that addressed the needs of the urban shopper if they truly wanted to make a difference in our underserved neighborhoods,” said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. “Today, it appears that Walmart has done just that by creating smaller urban store formats that will better serve our communities.”

Jobs at some of these stores won’t be available for a year or two, but to find out about specific openings right now, visit the Walmart Careers site.

By Lisa Johnson Mandell

Dream Jobs: Six-Figure Salaries and a Bright Future

Seemingly every week, another publication or website comes out with its list of the “Best Jobs of the Year” or the “Hottest Careers,” purporting to show the best fields to get into for job stability and earnings potential. The problem with many of these lists is that the jobs and careers on them often require years and years of training (see: biomedical engineer), offer an extremely small overall pool of jobs (see: meteorologist), or really don’t pay all that well (see: home health aide).
So we’ve put together a list of jobs that suffer from none of these disadvantages. Using statistics from the Bureau of Labor, salary sites, professional trade groups, and recruiters, we identified jobs that don’t require more than two years of additional training to secure a position, have a reasonably large and growing number of overall jobs, and offer six-figure salaries to top earners in the field (generally, the top 10 percent of those employed). These, to our mind, are the true dream jobs.
Online Marketing Director
Salary for top earners: $100,000+
Projected job growth: 60 percent this year
Additional training required: Familiarity with web analytics and search engine optimization and marketing can be acquired over several months via webinars, workshops, and online courses. A combination of marketing experience and online tech savvy, however, can help get your foot in the door.
As an online marketing director, you’d be developing and managing a company’s social media strategy, website, online and email campaigns, and ecommerce and merchandising. “The field is exploding and you don’t need an M.B.A.,” says Ellen Pack, vice president of marketing for Elance.com, which places online talent. According to Daniel Greenberg, chief marketing officer for job search engine SimplyHired.com, the number of listings for online marketing directors has increased more than 250 percent since June 2009.
Mobile Applications Developer
Salary for top earners: $115,000
Projected job growth: 131 percent this year alone
Additional training required: Programming experience in mobile platforms is necessary, but depending on your background, you can fine-tune your knowledge with a DIY approach or perhaps an online certificate program that typically takes one year to complete.
Developing and building applications for smartphones, iPads, and other tablets and notebook PCs is one of the most in-demand jobs in the world right now. So enticing is the revenue from mobile apps — Gartner estimates that worldwide revenue could top $15 billion this year that Google recently announced it’s hiring dozens of mobile developers in an attempt to counter Apple. Reality check: This isn’t a field for dilettantes: it requires serious programming and IT skills, but the growth potential is huge.
Global Supply Chain Manager
Salary for top earners: $135,100
Projected job growth: 10 percent by 2012
Additional training required: Transitioning into this field could take between six months for courses and up to two years to get a master’s degree. Those with operations, purchasing, or logistics education and/or experience have the best chance of getting into this field.
Global supply chain managers are the unsung heroes of companies who have to get products from A to B, on time, and on budget and now across continents and time zones as well. The job calls for calm problem-solving ability, high-tech handiness, and diplomatic skill a triple threat that’s hard to find. According to industry analysts, there is a growing shortage of these specialists as companies streamline and speed up every link in the chain to stay competitive.
Financial Advisor
Salary for top earners: $139,350
Projected job growth: 30 percent by 2018
Additional training required: While not required, the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate is a useful credential to get into this profession. The coursework and exam can usually be completed in 18 to 24 months, and over 250 institutions across the country, including some that are online, offer CFP-approved programs.
Once solely the purview of the wealthy, getting financial planning is now viewed as a prudent move for much of the population, particularly as traditional pensions fade. Consider that never before in history have regular people been required to take on this much responsibility for investing their nest eggs. You’ll be helping clients build portfolios, save for college or a house, and do estate planning, either at a firm or for yourself.
Financial Analyst, Gaming Industry
Salary for top earners: $100,000
Projected job growth: 20 percent by 2018
Additional training required: Seminars, webinars, and online classes offered through the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada Las Vegas will bring you up to speed. The five core courses could be completed within two years, less time if you double up.
There are currently 943 casinos in 38 states across the country, and more are being built every day. And with their focus on efficiency and profitability, gaming companies need qualified financial analysts. In particular, new racetrack casinos, or ‘racinos,’ are starting to flourish and hire, says Beth Deighan, CEO of Casino Careers LLC, an executive search firm. Skills from arenas such as government and finance are often transferable, Deighan says.

The World’s Coolest Jobs 2011

Imagine getting paid to eat ice cream all day, to go to the beach or to figure out how to make a race car go even faster.
They sound like fantasies to most of us but for some people, these are their actual jobs.
Take Paul Monaghan, who is the head of car engineering for the Red Bull Racing Formula One team. Or Kirsten Schimoler, whose job it is to come up with new flavors of ice cream for Ben & Jerry’s.
We interviewed both of them and several others who have the world’s coolest jobs. Click ahead to find out how they landed such a cool job and what a “typical” day is like for them!
Race Car Engineer
Source: Red Bull Racing
Paul Monaghan has a desk with a computer just like the rest of us, but instead of splitting his time between there and the conference room, he splits it between there and the racetrack.
He’s the head of car engineering for the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, which means he oversees the build of the car and troubleshoots whenever anything goes wrong. And, of course, there’s a lot of travel involved, given that Formula One races are held all over the world.
How did he get here? He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K., got his first job at Aston Martin Honda, spent a decade with McLaren Racing and is now with Red Bull Racing.
His coolest day? “I would say winning the World Championship last year was pretty cool!” Monaghan said. “It makes all the long hours and hard work worth it.”
Ice Cream Developer
Source: Ben & Jerry’s
Kirsten Schimoler is a product developer/flavor guru for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. It’s a job she’s been training for since she was young.
Her parents were in the restaurant and wine business, and her father had done some product development, something she used to mimic as a child.
“I loved to cook growing up … my brother and I would go into the kitchen and create things, working with a family friend on recipe development in the summers,” she said.
She has a degree in food science from Cornell University and worked at Unilever, doing product development for PF Chang’s home bistro meals. When she saw the ad in the paper (yep, they advertised it in the paper!) she jumped at the chance to return to her native Vermont and work for a company she’d “consumed and admired” since she was five.
To answer your pressing questions: Yes she gets to eat ice cream all day. In fact, some days it’s breakfast. Yes, she takes ice cream home (they get three free pints a day). The reason why she doesn’t look like she eats ice cream all day is because the company has a free gym on site and gives them free memberships to a local gym. And yes, they’re currently looking to hire another ice-cream developer!
Culinary Ambassador
Photo: Pei Wei
Alice Shin has a foodie’s dream job: She’s getting paid to eat her way across Asia, accompanied by two professional chefs, then blog about it.
How did she get such a delicious gig? She won a contest from the Pei Wei Asian Diner chain, owned by P.F. Chang’s, to be a “culinary ambassador” for three weeks. Her winning application included submitting a few of her Yelp reviews and a short video.
On a recent day at “the office,” Shin went to a soba shop to film a master making and cutting noodles by hand, tried noodles at several restaurants, visited a Japanese temple and castle, and then returned back to the hotel to edit the video with a cameraman, and blog about her day. (Read about all of her adventures at www.peiweiblog.com.)
The skills necessary for a job like this are “a big appetite, no fear and the ability to capture your experience in a way that’s relatable to the folks at home,” Shin said. “Also, writing like the wind doesn’t hurt either!”
After this gig is up, she goes back to her regular job, which is being a senior advertising copywriter at SapientNitro. Think Peggy from “Mad Men,” “placed in a world of Twitter, Facebook and interactive advertising!” Shin said.
CEO of Funny Web Empire
Photo: Eugene Hsu
When most of us look at funny pictures of animals on the Internet, it’s considered wasting time at work. For Ben Huh, who prefers to refer to it as a “mental vacation,” it’s his business model.
He’s the big cheese (like he’s never heard that one before) at Cheezburger Inc., the company behind 40 amusing web sites, including ICanHasCheezburger.com, IHasaHotDog.com, FAILBlog.org, Memebase.com and theDailywh.at .
The first site, ICanHasCheezburger, which features photos of cute cats, with captions in LOLspeak (e.g., “I can has cheezburger”), wasn’t Huh’s idea , but he saw the business value of it and bought the company in 2007. He had to nurture the site and work on turning it into a business. Initially, the business consisted of Huh in his PJs with his dog , watching daytime television and hosting user-submitted photos on ICanHasCheezburger.com. Now, it’s a 40-site empire with 53 employees.
How did he get here? He studied journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and worked as a journalist for a few years before trying his hand a t a tech start-up just as the dot-com boom went bust. His last job was as a product manager for a touch-screen technology company. None of it felt quite right it wasn’t until he reconnected with his inner entrepreneur.
Alas, Huh doesn’t spend all day looking at submissions of funny photos like he did in the early days. Now, he has a team of people to do that. Contrary to what you might think, it’s hard work making sure they live up to their motto: To make everyone happy for five minutes a day.
But ok, yeah. It’s still fun. “I like to describe our business as party in the front, business in the back  it’s a reverse mullet!” Huh said. “It’s a big, giant lab for humor.”
Honeymoon Testers
Photo: Denise Thomas
Denise Duffield-Thomas set a goal: To travel around the world with her husband Mark. So when a friend sent her a story about an Irish tourism company looking for a couple to travel around the world testing honeymoon destinations for six months, she knew she had to apply. And sure enough, she and husband , Mark , won, beating out 30,000 other applicants.
Their “job” is to test out honeymoon destinations, then make videos, upload photos, and blog about their day. It’s been the experience of a lifetime: They had a wedding ceremony with the Masai tribe in Kenya, snorkel ed for turtles in Australia, and rode camels in Jordan.
You have to be pretty versatile for a job like this: One day they are waited on hand – and – foot in a private villa .. the next day, they’re off on a camping trip through the desert, Thomas said. And, while every marriage has its strains, they’ve had a few unique ones, like 5 a.m. interviews and swimming with sharks!
Great news: Runaway Bride and Groom, the company that hired them, is now looking for another couple to be the new honeymoon testers. Register at RunawayBrideandGroom.com.
Tourism Ambassador
Source: Tourism Queensland
If you think some of these dream job contests don’t constitute real jobs you haven’t met Ben Southall. Ben won the “Best Job in the World” nearly two years ago, which was a job as an “island caretaker” in Queensland, Australia, where he would basically go to the beach, snorkel, dive and see everything there was to see, and then blog about it.
It was a six-month gig , but Southall was so successful, he’s now a full-time “tourism ambassador” for Queensland. Last year, he went on a global media tour, traveling around the world to talk about his experience. Now, he’s back in Queensland, going on adventures and blogging about them.
What’s a typical day like for Southall? Well, somedays “typical” means he’s snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef ; other days, it means escorting a group of students through the countryside or speaking before 2,000 people at a conference. But “caretaker” isn’t just for show: Southall said some days he even has to clean the pool!
Professional T-Shirt Wearer
Photo: The Billboard Family
Kids will often beg their parents to stay home, prompting responses like, “Well, honey, Daddy doesn’t get paid to sit around on the couch, so Daddy has to go to work.”
Well, Carl and Amy Martin found a way to make that all one in the same: They created their own business as “The Billboard Family,” and the whole family (including kids Layne, Kaitlyn and baby Alex) gets paid to wear a company’s T-shirt for the day, whether they’re at home or out. Then, they blog, do Facebook and Twitter updates and create YouTube videos to talk to their online community about the company they’re wearing and its products. They even had a company sponsor the recent birth of their daughter, Alex!
Dad Carl said he actually got the idea after hearing about Jason Sadler, the guy who started a mini-T-shirt wearing empire called “I Wear Your Shirt.”
The kids love it: They not only get excited when the new T-shirts are delivered, they’re also getting into helping out with the production of the daily photos and videos. And they’re very good at suggesting poses. One downside: Getting the kids to keep their shirts clean!
Freelance Videographer
Photo: Molly McBride
Joe Caffrey is trained in broadcast production , but he doesn’t report to an office or a studio. He reports to different locations around the world for each assignment, taking videos for his clients.
Sometimes it’s Madison Square Garden in New York, sometimes it’s Istanbul, Turkey. As a result, he basically wanders into a different “office” every day — and while some of his “co-workers” are the same, like his fellow freelancers, they might also include the occasional famous person like the Dalai Lama or Chris Rock!
He does a lot of work for Carnegie Hall, which is how he landed in Istanbul. They do a global student-sharing program and he’s part of the team that shoots the concerts and transmits them around the world. Sometimes these videos are just for the client’s records, such as the Dalai Lama’s speeches in Madison Square Garden, or corporate parties. Other times, it turns into something else — like the Chris Rock concert, where the footage was used for his HBO special.
And while others faced layoffs during the recession, Caffrey benefited from companies being tight on money and wanting to use freelancers. He had gone freelance shortly before the recession so he was in the perfect spot. “I was already in on the ground floor of the bad economy!” Caffrey quips.
Among his favorite “days at the office” are the time he directed video coverage of the “Flight of the Concords” when they did a live show at Radio City Music Hall in New York, and working with a famous tabla drummer in India. As they walked through the streets together, the crowd parted!
All in a day in the life of a freelance videographer.

Top 10 Jobs With Parent-Friendly Hours

Parenting is a full-time job and it’s one that can make maintaining a career and paying the bills a real challenge. Money is important but the majority of parents rank flexibility and/or the option of working non-traditional hours as priority #1 when looking for a job. Here’s our list of the ten best jobs with parent-friendly hours.
 1. Nurse
Nursing offers some of the most varied work environment and schedule options available in a career. While nurses can’t generally leave in the middle of a shift they can choose from M-F doctor’s office positions, 12 hour shifts, weekends, evenings, and even work-when-you-can on call positions to make it a workable career choice for the most hectic of schedules.

2. Teacher
Teachers do not generally enjoy adjustable schedules but what the job lacks in flexibility it more than makes up for in convenience — parents can work while their kids are in school and be off when their kids are off, including summers and holidays. Also in some cases it may even be possible to work in the same building as your children.

3. Day Care Provider
Day care providers have some flexibility to set their own schedules but for the most part must accommodate other working parents, including weekday, evening, and some weekend hours. However in exchange for longer hours and reduced flexibility day care providers can care for their own children as well, eliminating the need for other arrangements.

4. Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents are often on the move but can schedule appointments to show properties based on their preferences, many times in the evenings and on weekends. Other duties, such as doing research and making phone calls, can easily be done from a home office and agents can work as little or as much as they need to.

5. Bookkeeper/Data Entry
Bookkeeping and data entry largely involve solo tasks and can often be done from a home computer at odd or haphazard hours — although attention to detail and accuracy are key so distractions should be minimized. Also if working from home isn’t an option many hospitals and other companies staff bookkeepers and data entry specialists during evening hours or even overnight.

6. Personal Trainer
Personal trainers set their own hours and schedule appointments, either at a gym or in private homes, around their own personal preferences — during the day, in the evenings, or on weekends. Also due to the one-on-one nature of the work those with established clients may enjoy additional flexibility in terms of last minute appointment changes.

7. Sales
Parents with excellent people skills and an outgoing personality can enjoy a flexible schedule as a sales representative. Job requirements vary greatly across the field but many salespeople are able to set their own hours, base out of a home office, work part or full time in a wide variety of industries, and if successful enjoy a higher than average salary.

8. Public Relations
Public relations is a high-powered field that’s often parent-friendly because it’s about connecting with people and passing information, neither of which requires sitting in an office. Answering phone calls and emails, writing press releases, and building relationships can happen at home during odd hours while face-to-face meetings can be set in advance at times that work for you.

9. Graphic Designer
Graphic design can be done anywhere and at any time of day, provided deadlines are met. Client meetings can be scheduled when convenient, most communication is over the phone or email, and the work is results-oriented and largely conceptual so ideas can be brainstormed while waiting in the car or at line in the grocery store and work can be done while kids are napping, at school, or in bed.

10. Tutor
Tutoring is a great option for teachers looking for increased schedule flexibility or adjustable hours, or for other professionals with people skills and a particular area of expertise. Tutors can work in schools or private homes and can select clients and set appointments at whatever times are convenient.
By Rigel Celeste  for AOL Jobs

Unemployment Dips to 8.9 Percent, 192K Jobs Added

WASHINGTON (AP) – Employers hired in February at the fastest pace in almost a year and the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent – a nearly two-year low.
The economy added 192,000 jobs last month, with factories, professional and business services, education and health care among those expanding employment. Retailers, however, trimmed jobs. State and local governments, wrestling with budget shortfalls, slashed 30,000 jobs, the most since November. Federal government hiring was flat.
Private employers added 222,000 jobs last month, the most since April. That shows that companies are feeling more confident in the economy and about their own financial prospects. And it bolstered hopes that businesses will shift into a more aggressively hiring mode and boost the economic recovery.
The unemployment rate is now at the lowest point since April 2009. It has been falling for three months, down from 9.8 percent in November, marking the sharpest three-month decline since 1983.
“These number can be sustained and built on,” economist Joel Naroff at Naroff Economic Advisors. “The economy is recovering, there is no question about it. Businesses are finally taking some of those profits they are earning and putting them back into the work force.”

#mini_module_blank { width: 269px; height: 206px; border: medium none; float: left; margin: 10px; font-size: 12px; }#mini_module_blank img { width: 265px; height: 131px; border: medium none; margin: 0px; }#mini_module_blank .mini_main { margin: 0px; padding: 0px; width: 269px; height: 206px; background: url(“http://www.aolcdn.com/travel/zing-background-no-photo”) repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent; }#mini_module_blank .mini_item_header { padding: 12px 0px; margin: 0px 20px; font-size: 16px; }#mini_module_blank .mini_item { padding: 8px 0px; margin: 0px 20px; border-bottom: 1px dotted rgb(204, 204, 204); }#mini_module_blank a { color: rgb(73, 163, 202); text-decoration: none; }#mini_module_blank a:hover { color: rgb(249, 132, 25); text-decoration: underline; } The number of unemployed people dipped to 13.7 million, still almost double since before the recession.

When factoring in the number of part-time workers who would rather be working full time and those who have given up looking for work, the percentage of “underemployed” people dropped to 15.9 percent in February. That’s the lowest in nearly two years.

The positive news on the hiring front comes as the larger economy is gaining momentum.

Americans shoppers are spending more. U.S. exporters are selling more abroad. Manufacturing is growing at the fastest pace in nearly seven years. And the service sector, which employs about 90 percent of the work force, is expanding at the fastest clip in more than five years.

The 192,000 jobs added in February was a significant improvement from the 63,000 notched in January. Some of the boost came as people resumed work, after dropping off payrolls because of bad weather in January. Still, the gains were widespread.
Factories added 33,000 jobs. Education and health care added 40,000 positions. Professional and businesses services added 47,000. Leisure and hospitality added 21,000 jobs. Construction companies, 33,000 jobs – although a good chunk of those reflected people coming back on payrolls after January’s harsh winter weather; Transportation and warehousing added 22,000 jobs.

The number of “long-term” unemployed, people out of work six months or more, sank to 5.99 million, a decline of 217,000 from January.

Workers’ paychecks were mostly flat. Average hourly earning rose to $22.87 in February, up only one cent from January. Workers have little bargaining power to demand big pay raises because the weak jobs market.

And rising gasoline prices are putting more pressure on Americans’ pocketbooks. Gasoline is averaging close to $3.50 a gallon nationwide. Higher prices can force consumers to cut back spending on other things. That has the potential to slow the recovery and hiring.

By Jeannine Aversa, for AOL Jobs

Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs (salary and death rate mentioned)

Although not tied directly to his job, the recent death of ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Justin Tennison has brought dangerous jobs to the forefront again.

All jobs comes with health risks, but while some are minor, like computer eye strain or a slipping hazard in the break room by the coffee machine, others are more serious and even potentially even fatal. Falling from great heights, being crushed under heavy equipment, and crashing into a fiery explosion are just a few of the job dangers many workers face daily.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled data from such hazardous jobs and created this list of The Top Ten Most Dangerous Occupations. Of course there’s an upside to dangerous work, which is that often the added danger translates into higher pay.

1. Fisherman

Median Annual Salary: $44,141*

Death rate: 200 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous: Hauling and maneuvering nets or cages weighing several hundred pounds (or more) is tricky enough even without heavy rain, wind, slippery decks, and ice cold waves splashing and sloshing everywhere. And of course drowning is always a very real possibility.

2. Logger

Median Annual Salary: $40,278*

Death rate: 61.8 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous: Loggers work at great heights and on unstable, uneven terrain with chain saws and logging machines that are dangerous even when used properly. They’re also required to negotiate the incredible momentum and massive weight of falling trees and tree limbs, often in inclement weather and in remote locations where proper health care faciltiies are not readily available.

3. Aircraft Pilot

Median Annual Salary: $117,948*

Death rate: 57.1 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous: Bush flying, crop dusting, banner towing and piloting commercial flights are all included in this group. Crop dusting and bush flying are by far the most dangerous due to the fact that they fly in small planes, very close to the ground, and often work long hours. Also, as with all pilots, if something goes wrong there’s little option other than to come crashing down.

4. Farmer/Rancher

Median Annual Salary: $30,450

Death rate: 38.5 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous: Farmers and ranchers face an array of on-the-job hazards including being crushed or entangled by heavy machinery such as combines and balers, kicked or trampled by livestock, trapped inside silos or grain elevators, and exposed to toxic levels of pesticides and other chemicals. All this while working extremely long hours during planting and harvest seasons.

5. Roofer

Median Annual Salary: $36,895*

Death rate: 34.7 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous: Heights, severe inclines, slippery surfaces, uneven footing, a lack of safety harnesses or netting, and tasks that usually require both hands, make falls are a very real possibility for roofers. Add in searing heat, wind, sun, and dehydration, and you have a potentially fatal workplace environment.

6. Structural Iron/Steel Worker

Median Annual Salary: $47,013*

Death rate: 30.3 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous: No matter how coordinated, balanced, and focused you are walking 4-inch wide metal planks, climbing ladders, and dodging falling debris all day at dizzying heights (sometimes dozens or even hundreds of feet above the ground) is risky business.

7. Refuse Collector

Median Annual Salary: $35,945*

Death rate: 25.2 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous: The seemingly mundane job of “garbage man” is a surprisingly hazardous one, in part due to risks associated with operating heavy lifting and compacting equipment, but mostly because of the way they ride from house to house clinging to the sides and back of their garbage trucks. They often perch precariously on narrow ledges and running boards — just one little slip and they can easily be caught under the wheels of the truck and/or hit by passing traffic.

8. Industrial Machinery Maintenance Worker

Median Annual Salary: $46,645

Death rate: 18.5 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous:Large-scale machinery designed to crush, melt, bend, or reform metal or other industrial materials can easily crush or mangle a human in seconds if something goes wrong. There’s also the risk of fire or explosion, exposure to toxic chemicals, and falling or shifting debris.

9. Truck Driver

Median Annual Salary $*43,048

Death rate: 18.3 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous: Driving is hazardous for anyone for any length of time but especially for those that drive for a living. Long hours and boring stretches of road make staying alert and focused a challenge, while high speeds, very large vehicles, and heavy loads make the consequences of even a small error or lapse exponentially more serious.

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10. Construction Worker

Median Annual Salary $*66,422

Death rate: 18.3 per 100,000

Why it’s so dangerous: Construction workers labor in all sorts of environments including underground, at great heights, and on busy highways and building sites. In addition they often work with hazardous materials, explosives, heavy equipment, and power tools.



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