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It’ s hard to believe that any industry could have been successful over the past two years. But according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), two industries actually thrived during the recession.

The BLS recently reported that the educational services and healthcare/social assistance industries gained employment in a two-year period when most industries were plagued by mass layoffs. The average wages in these industries also exceeded the national average, which is $20.32 per hour or $42,270 annually.

Educational services added 180,000 jobs between December 2007 and December 2009, which was an increase of about 1.3 percent. Most of the growth occurred in state government and in the private sector while local government education, consisting mostly of elementary and secondary schools, actually declined. The hottest jobs in this industry were postsecondary teachers, graduate teaching assistants, and postsecondary education administrators.

Between December 2007 and December 2009, healthcare/social assistance gained 758,000 jobs, an increase of approximately 4.9 percent. Healthcare, which we already know is a hot industry for contract placements, accounted for 83 percent of the growth with social assistance picking up the other 17 percent. According to the BLS, this is not surprising because healthcare is a necessity, and the need for social services usually increases in a recession. Some jobs that saw the largest increase in this industry were medical assistants, registered nurses, and home health aides.

These increases applied to both contract and direct-hire positions.

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