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Study: 2011 Job Outlook Proving To Be Best In Years

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)- For the unemployed, 2011 offers a glimmer of hope: According to an annual study from the National Association for Business Economics, all four major job industry sectors in the country experienced demand growth for the sixth consecutive quarter as 2010 came to an end.

The increase, which came during the final three months of last year, illustrates an economy poised for further recovery, experts advise.

Though the national unemployment rate sits at 9.4 percent, Texas' is more than a full percentage point below that: 8.3 percent. The state even added 20,000 jobs in December, a 2.3 percent increase, according to the State Comptroller's Office.

But for those without jobs, the struggle continues.

"There's supposed to be more openings. I look at the news, and that's what it says, but I haven't seen it," said Pamela Rogers, 55, who worked in telecommunications for nearly two decades before she was laid off.

The single mother spends her days at the Texas Workforce Commission Office searching for job openings.

"It's depressing," she said. "It's very depressing."

So, if experts are expecting more jobs to bolster 2011, where will they be? The NABE expects to see openings in the service sector, which includes retail and customer service.

Diana Sellers and her husband hired eight employees because their Mansfield-based business is booming.

"My husband started this back in 2002, we actually started it out of our garage and it's grown into a business," she said. "We now have 41 employees."

Their business, Cellmark, sells gun accessories.

"Just about anything ... you would put on a gun or a rifle, we carry those," she said.

Stores like Academy and Cabelas have picked up their products, and Cellmark has since shipped its items as far as Germany, China and Russia.

"I'm very optimistic," Sellers said. "We had a great year last year. We hope to have a better year this year."

Transportation, logistics and healthcare operations are also expected to see growth, considering Texas added more residents than any other state in the past decade, according to U.S. Census records released last year.

"I think the medical community across the street will continue to grow," said Matt Hebb, a spokesman for Express Employment Professionals. "Parkland's building a new facility, UT Southwestern, as well as Children's Medical Center."

But the fact remains: The national unemployment rate is still high, meaning some job seekers – college graduates, older workers – may be squeezed out.

However, Monday's study found that 34 percent of firms in the country reported a larger workforce. At this point last year, only 13 percent were reporting that. The amount of firms laying employees off and eliminating positions was also cut in more than half: 13 percent last year compared to 6 percent this year.

"Texas job growth across many industries offers employment opportunities for Texas workers," said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton in a release. "Staff at TWC and at more than 245 Workforce Solutions offices across the state stand ready to assist those job seekers who remain unemployed."

The situation is still a frustrating reality for Rogers and others like her. She said she hopes to see these indicators firsthand and get back in the workforce soon.

"I stay hopeful sooner or later, me or my daughter, if we get two incomes in the house I'm sure we can do a lot better," Rogers said.

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