Employment opportunities in health care and social assistance dominated Maine’s job market in the third quarter of 2013, according to a study of online job postings.

The Maine Development Foundation, which issued a report Wednesday, examined more than 55,000 unique job postings in Maine throughout the quarter. The foundation is a private nonprofit that works on economic, work force, leadership and community development issues.

Its report says the top five industries seeking new hires were social assistance, hospitals, insurance carriers and related businesses, food and drink establishments and services, and ambulatory health care services.

The top five occupations in which employers were looking for workers in the third quarter were retail salespeople, registered nurses, customer service representatives and sales representatives in wholesale and manufacturing, followed by tractor-trailer and heavy-truck drivers.

The top five college degrees that employers were seeking in their hires were business administration and management, computer science, nursing science, social work and psychology, the study showed.

The top five skill sets in demand by Maine employers were communication, working in a business environment, software and programming, problem solving and customer service.

The top five certifications employers were looking for were first-aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator training, registered nurse, licensed alcohol and drug counselor, commercial driver’s license and certified nursing assistant.

Because it was only the foundation’s second quarterly study of Internet job postings, no comparison data from 2012 were available.

Still, the report’s authors said there are indicators that Maine’s job market is improving, such as U.S. Department of Labor data from the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2012.

The data show that the number of hires in Maine edged up from the previous year, while the number of separations – people quitting, retiring or being fired – decreased slightly.

According to the foundation, the quarterly reports are meant to help students and job-seekers make better decisions, and to guide employers in shaping their hiring strategies and human-resources policies.

Foundation Program Director Maggie Drummond said her organization will continue to produce the reports to track changes in Internet job postings over time and study how they compare with data on actual hiring.

Drummond said the foundation plans to shift the focus of its reports periodically to look into other areas of interest such as which regions of the state are offering the greatest number of jobs online.

“We expect that each of these reports will be slightly different,” she said.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

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