This time around, however, it seems as though the Obama administration is really serious about job creation. The health care reform debate that has shadowed the first two years of Obama's presidency also sucked the life out of pretty much any other important government goal, to the detriment of the country. But now that health care reform is, for all intents and purposes, a done deal, Obama and his staff seem ready to take on the challenge of job creation.
Interestingly enough, now that the focus has shifted on job creation, the market is responding. I don't know enough about economics to make an informed decision, but I could swear companies were just waiting for the 'go ahead' to start hiring again. A renewed sense of security now that it looks like someone is once again driving the bus? Perhaps, but whatever the reason, I'll take it.
My perceptions notwithstanding, jobs are being created. A recent study by the Milliken Institute ranked the top 10 states in science and tech jobs, with Massachusetts coming in at the top, followed by Maryland and Colorado. (Wondering where your state landed? Check out the rankings here.) According to the institute, the index tracks and evaluates every state's tech and science capabilities and its success at converting those assets into companies and high-paying jobs.
Other indicators also point to job growth in 2011. According to IHS Global Insight, an economic consulting firm, the majority of job creation will occur in the private sector, with health care, IT and retail leading the way. Meanwhile, global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas noted that job cuts in the IT sector were down a whopping 73 percent in 2010 over 2009-a sure sign that the economy is improving if ever there was one. Says John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas in a release announcing the results:
These firms are definitely on the leading edge of the recovery, as companies across the country and around the globe begin to upgrade and reinvest in their technology. The surge in smart phones and tablets alone is helping to drive growth in electronics, telecom and computers.
To be sure, we're not going to get back to pre-recession employment numbers for a long time. But at least now there's a glimmer of hope for the unemployed-something they haven't seen in a few years. As Obama said in his State of the Union address:
The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn't discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember, for all the hits we have taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world.