The nation's unemployment rate is higher than it has been in years, with nearly 13 million jobless Americans.
National unemployment statistics do not fully account for workers whose benefits have expired, who have stopped looking for jobs or who are underemployed in jobs well below their education, training and experience levels.
Out of this porridge of statistics about the U.S. work force comes this bit of bright news: There are thousands of jobs available in some sectors, such as nurse, veterinarians, engineers and pharmacists. The not-so-bright news is that taking many of these jobs would require relocation, and the housing-credit bust is making that difficult.
There are many highly trained Americans who could fill a good many of these jobs. But they are living in mortgaged houses whose values have plummeted in recent months. In order to relocate, they would face giving up their homes or selling them at a loss. So these individuals often choose to forgo a good job and settle for one nearby that will help with the bills.
Obviously, the shortages in these professional areas can't be filled quickly. It will take years in some cases to match college graduates and the needs of the job market.
In the meantime, it's good to know that there are jobs to be had. Now the trick is to convince qualified applicants to consider moving to places like North Dakota, where hundreds of engineering jobs, for example, are going unfilled because the state's cold-weather image isn't the most appealing come-on.