Jeffrey Zients (Courtesy of the Office of Management and Budget)

The smart money seems to be drifting these days to acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeff Zients to become U.S. trade representative.

He’s been widely praised for his performance at OMB and no one seems to be holding his early years in management consulting at Bain & Co. against him.

Zients also might be looking for work soon, given recent reports that Sylvia Mathews Burwell, now head of the Wal-Mart Foundation and former deputy chief of staff and deputy OMB director in the Clinton administration, is moving in to be OMB director.

Meanwhile, buzz at the Labor Department has it that economist Ed Montgomery, now dean of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute and before that the department’s chief economist, assistant secretary for policy and deputy secretary during the Clinton administration, is being looked at as a potential secretary of labor.

In 2009, President Obama appointed Montgomery, who had worked on the 2008 labor transition team, to the presidential task force on the auto industry, which dealt with the Chrysler and General Motors bailouts.

And at Transportation, while the leaders continue to be Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Ohio GOP representative Steve La Tourette and National Transportation Safety Board chair Debbie Hersman, there’s talk that Jane Garvey, former head of the Federal Aviation Administration, who had been mentioned in 2009 as a possible transportation secretary, is once again in the mix.