The economy is inching back to health, with companies hiring here and there and people who had given up on finding a job starting to look again. Employers have added 5.5 million new jobs since the economy bottomed out in 2010, yet total employment is still at 2005 levels. At the current pace of hiring, the total number of jobs won't exceed the 2008 peak until late 2014.
Some industries, however, have already hit new records for hiring. There are a variety of reasons: Some businesses are naturally recession-resistant, and they tend to grow along with an expanding population, no matter what. Others are well-suited to a demanding economy or simply booming because they meet an important need. U.S. News scoured Labor Department data to identify these 20 industries that are at record employment levels, and are likely to keep on growing:
Amusement parks and arcades, 186,000 jobs: Americans rely on the fun industry for a break from it all.
Bars and restaurants, 10.1 million jobs: People are eating out again, especially at fast-food joints and value chains.
Booze, at least 400,000 jobs at breweries, wineries, distilleries, wholesalers and retail outlets: Drinking is apparently as popular as ever.
Celebrity handling, 123,000 jobs: The official category is "agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers, and other public figures." Whatever you call them, celebrities are big business.
Internet publishers and search engines, 300,000 jobs: This has become a mainstream business, yet the majority of these jobs are classified as "other information services," suggesting the government is behind the times when it comes to measuring this important industry.
Investment advice, 155,000 jobs: Turbulent times require trained professionals to make sure you don't lose your shirt.
Healthcare, 14.5 million jobs: As everybody knows, healthcare is one industry that grows consistently, on account of population growth and aging baby boomers who need more care. Even the health insurance industry, with 465,000 jobs, is at record employment levels.
Machine shops, 285,000 jobs: A rising number of jobs at these establishments, which typically fashion metal and plastic parts for machines, may be an early sign of ramped-up manufacturing at U.S. plants.
Management, 2 million jobs: Most big companies have slimmed down, but they need more skilled managers to run operations that are often spread all over the world. Management and technical consulting is another booming business, with 1.2 million workers.
Motion picture and video production, 223,000 jobs: Hollywood remains a uniquely American--and highly successful--institution.
Professional organizations, 79,000 jobs: Networking matters now more than ever.
Nail salons, 58,000 jobs: You may not be able to afford a complete makeover, so why not splurge on something small?
Oil and gas extraction, 194,000 jobs: New drilling techniques are creating an energy renaissance. Support activities are booming too.
Research and development, 441,000 jobs: This category includes people with expertise in physical, engineering, and life sciences. Scientific R&D services account for another 641,000 jobs.
Security guards, 667,000 jobs: Unlocked doors and unguarded campuses are a thing of the past. Welcome to Lockdown Nation.
Several types of retailers, 5.3 million jobs: this includes supermarkets, drug stores, warehouse clubs, tire stores, shoe stores and even pawn shops are at their highest employment levels ever. One thing they have in common: All sell necessities or discount items.
Small arms manufacturing, 44,000 jobs: With new gun control efforts, this industry is in the crosshairs. Still, gun sales have been soaring.
Technical and trade schools, 139,000 jobs: Young people understand that a high-school diploma won't get you very far, with many who can't afford college choosing a trade school instead.
Veterinary services, 312,000 jobs: Americans love their pets, even when times are tough. Pet-care outlets and pet stores are also at record levels of employment, accounting for another 188,000 jobs.
Waste collection, 155,000 jobs: We are prolific discarders, with more waste than ever piling up as the economy recovers and people buy more stuff.
Rick Newman's latest book is Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback to Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.
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