America's 10 toughest jobs to fill in 2017

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    In the 1967 film "The Graduate," new college grad Ben is given a piece of career advice: Head for the plastics industry.

    Today, Ben would be likely to be told to snub plastics and head toward two other sectors: health care and technology. Skilled labor in both industries is in demand, yet some companies are having trouble finding enough qualified applicants to fill their open positions, according to a new study from CareerCast.

    Despite the booming growth in tech and health care, many Americans are struggling to find any job at all that pays a living wage or that provides career growth. Even though the jobless rate is near a 10-year low, wages still stand below their late-1990s peak.

    The situation is especially dire for workers without a college degree because the post-recession years have left behind people who only have a high school degree. College grads took home about 56 percent more income than high school graduates in 2015, the largest gap since 1973.

    It's not all doom-and-gloom for those without a college degree, however. CareerCast found that several of the 2017's hardest-to-fill jobs don't require college degrees. But the jobs that require a bachelor's degree tend to pay higher salaries, the research found.

    "The concept that not having enough candidates might have felt foreign at the height of the recession, when unemployment lingered around 10%," Kyle Kensing, online content editor at CareerCast, said in a statement. "However, improvements in the job market have resulted in a different issue for some industries: Labor shortages."

    CareerCast's study is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hiring trends during the past decade, trade statistics, college graduate employment data and CareerCast's database of job listings.

    Read on to learn about this year's most in-demand jobs, which are listed alphabetically.