With the U.S. unemployment rate steady at 9.1% and President Obama's jobs plan creating more conflict than opportunity, it's hard to believe there are U.S. companies that are hiring.
But there are.
Even taking into account the gloomy economic outlook, these companies project growth into next year that will increase revenue and require more employees.
That's good news for job seekers, but it benefits investors as well, since they will have the opportunity to profit from the higher share prices that come as a result.
So here are the sectors the most hiring right now, as well as seven companies that could parlay employment opportunities into higher profits.
Real Job Growth vs. Temp Hires
Some of the biggest hiring increases are coming from the U.S. auto industry.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) recently announced plans to hire as many as 7,000 new workers by the end of 2012. Many of the new positions will help develop new battery-powered cars, but they also reflect the company's improved earnings. After losing $30.1 billion in the period from 2006 through 2008 and borrowing $23.4 billion to survive, Ford earned $9.28 billion over the past two years.
Ford's improvement spilled into the rest of the auto sector, with both General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Chrysler Group LLC (which is now partnered with Italy's Fiat SpA) ramping up hiring over the past year.
Healthcare, medical, and drug companies also have picked up hiring in a trend that is expected to continue into 2012. According to human resources publication Benefits Pro, healthcare jobs now account for 10.8% of the total U.S. workforce, including 30,000 new positions created in August when overall U.S. job growth was flat.
Healthcare stocks have responded to the sector's growth. MSN Money on Oct. 4 posted the top performing stocks so far this year, which included five companies in the medical/healthcare sector boasting gains of 30% or more.
Still, you must be aware of potential traps when searching for the job-adding sectors. Some companies are only hiring seasonal or temporary workers, and their short-term payroll increases won't translate into stock-price gains.