Want to know where the jobs are? Go to where the résumés are: the small-town home of Monster, “the world’s largest formal medium for businesses and individuals to connect,” as founder and chairman Jeff Taylor would have it. Beyond being a job-finding service, the company also nurtures an analytical side within the enormous renovated mill that serves as its office. Monster Data Intelligence, or MDI, was created in 2001 to collect and analyze every click of the site’s 1.5 million daily job seekers and 15 million unique monthly visitors. So where are the jobs? Looking at data from the end of 2002, Marcel Legrand, Monster’s senior VP of product and one of the sages of MDI, reports, “The regions where we are seeing improvement are the West and the Midwest. Nevada job postings are up 10%, and Wisconsin is up 15%.” The shocker: “Job postings in Utah are up 27%.”
Utah? Explains Legrand: “The West tends to be the first in, first out of a recession.” And don’t rule out the South, which, like the Midwest, boasts many metro areas with unemployment below 4%. If you’re looking for job security and not necessarily a specific job, go to a region that has a diverse economy. Avoid one-company towns.
What else should job seekers do? “Think broadly and loosen how you define your skills,” counsels Taylor. “Job titles shift as industries heat up. Most of the time, the skills don’t have to change, just the job title.”