At the dusk of the decade, it is language and names that linger.
George W. Bush. Al Qaeda. Dick Cheney. Taliban. Donald Rumsfeld. Sarah Palin. Barack Obama. Paris Hilton. Stephen Colbert. Facebook. MySpace. Twitter. HDTV. Carbon footprints. Credit swaps. Bailouts. Blogs. iPods and iPhones. Texting, sexting and drexting.
Apart from secret agents seemingly immune from the Geneva Conventions, who ever heard of waterboarding before Sept. 11, 2001? Haliburton? Blackwater?
And a carbon footprint? Staycations? Muffintop? Cheetahlicious? Bromance? Locavore?
In the past decade, Merriam-Webster Dictionary has added dozens of new words to the national lexicon. For every year, there was a word that invariably captured the spirit of the era.
In 2008, it was "bailout." In 2007, it was "wOOt," that spontaneous expression of joy following a triumph, or issued "for no reason at all."
In 2006, Merriam-Webster's word of the year, "truthiness," came from Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert. It was preceded a year earlier by "integrity."
All told, it was an endless rush of words that, for better or worse, captured the high and low points humanity offered up in a decade dominated by war, recessions and terrorism.
It was 3,650 days of change in everything from economics and politics to society and technology.
At the dawn of the decade, it was an employee's job market. At the dusk of the decade, it was nobody's market.
Wall Street and the privileged class still dominate the rule books, but Main Street and the working class are finally catching on -- real change starts only from the bottom up.
And as Erie County and the region gear up for a hopeful march toward economic recovery, a single word might encapsulate the battle in the years ahead: employment.
For those looking to grow their professional skill sets to ready for the new workplace, here are some job-growth forecasts the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released just weeks ago:
Of the fastest-growing industries in the next decade, health care will lead the way. Jobs in health care, in fact, are expected to make up half of the leading 20 occupations. The occupations with the fastest growth rate include:
1. Biomedical engineers (72 percent increase)
2. Network systems and data communications analysts (53 percent)
3. Home health aides (50 percent)
4. Personal and home care aides (46 percent)
5. Financial examiners (41 percent)
6. Medical scientists, excluding epidemiologists (40 percent)
7. Physician assistants (39 percent)
8. Skin care specialists (38 percent)
9. Biochemists and biophysicists (37 percent)
10. Athletic trainers (37 percent)
11. Physical therapist aides (36 percent)
12. Dental hygienists (36 percent)
13. Veterinary technologists and technicians (36 percent)
14. Dental assistants (36 percent)
15. Computer software engineers (34 percent)
16. Medical assistants (34 percent)
17. Physical therapist assistants (33 percent)
18. Veterinarians (33)
19. Self-enrichment educators (32 percent)
20. Compliance officers, excluding construction, agriculture, transportation, health and safety (31 percent)
In regard to the largest number of jobs created in each occupation, however -- perhaps a more useful tool for job-seekers -- health care will still play a key role in the job market. The 20 occupations expected to add the largest number of jobs in the next 10 years are:
1. Registered nurses: 581,500 new jobs (22 percent growth)
2. Home health aides: 460,900 (50 percent)
3. Customer service representatives: 399,500 (18 percent)
4. Food preparation and service workers, excluding fast food: 394,300 (15 percent)
5. Personal, home care aides: 375,800 (46 percent)
6. Retail sales: 374,700 (8 percent)
7. Officer clerks, general: 358,700 (12 percent)
8. Accountants and auditors: 279,400 (22 percent)
9. Nursing aides, orderlies, attendants: 276,000 (19 percent)
10. Postsecondary teachers: 256,900 (15 percent)
11. Construction laborers: 255,900 (20 percent)
12. Elementary school teachers: 244,200 (16 percent)
13. Truck drivers: 232,900 (13 percent)
14. Landscaping, groundskeeping: 217,100 (18 percent)
15. Bookkeeping, accounting, auditing clerks: 212,400 (10 percent)
16. Executive secretaries, administrative assistants: 204,400 (13 percent)
17. Management analysts: 178,300 (24 percent)
18. Computer software engineers: 175,100 (34 percent)
19. Receptionists, information clerks: 172,900 (15 percent)
20. Carpenters: 165,400 (13 percent)