What Jobs Will the Stimulus Create?
In his first address to Congress, President Barack Obama put his top priority for America’s beleaguered workers in simple terms: “Now is the time to jumpstart job creation.”
The work of reversing the labor economy’s slide will not be so simple. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act seeks to bring timely relief to 11.6 million unemployed Americans and 734,000 discouraged workers -- so called by the Bureau of Labor Statistics because they have given up looking.
The jobs created by the Recovery Act will make a world of difference in the lives of millions, even though it can’t put everyone back to work tomorrow.
“The approximately 3.5 million jobs created or saved will reflect the current distribution of jobs across the economy,” touching all industries, says Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. Due to the severity of the recession, “that’s not going to fill in the employment gap entirely,” she says. About 3.6 million jobs have already been lost in the recession that began December 2007, according to a February 2009 BLS report, and no one expects the losses to stop anytime soon.
Four strategic sectors will receive money targeted for job creation, either directly or indirectly: energy (459,000 jobs), infrastructure (377,000), education (250,000) and healthcare (244,000), according to a report by Obama administration officials.
And the broader stimulus created by government work, recession relief and tax relief is projected to create even greater numbers of jobs across the economy.
Alternative Energy Jobs Get a Jolt
The stimulus package calls for unprecedented spending on clean energy, including $60 billion in loan guarantees for alternative energy projects such as wind turbines and coal gasification.
The money is sorely needed, because the green sector has been especially hard-hit in the downturn. “Since November, hiring has been in a lockdown,” says Doug Scott, regional managing director for recruitment firm the Mergis Group. “It’s starting to improve, because companies who have the money to make a play are now doing so.”
Engineers and tradespeople should see demand for their services rise when federal funding reaches their prospective employers. “Electrical, electronic and mechanical engineers will transfer their skills the quickest to alternative energy, to work on solar panels and wind turbines, for example,” says Scott. “Technical salespeople will be needed, as will skilled tradespeople to work in installation, infrastructure and field service.”
Learn more about energy-related opportunities and search for jobs.
Construction and Infrastructure Win Major Support
“Job growth from the stimulus will be heavier in industries that have been hit harder,” says Shierholz. “Those industries have the most opportunity for bounce-back.”
Construction, with its free-falling housing sector, desperately needs that bounce. So hardhats and their coworkers should be somewhat reassured to see that Recovery Act infrastructure spending will be measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars, and so-called shovel-ready projects will receive funding as soon as this spring. For example, the infrastructure stimulus will include billions of dollars for public transit, encompassing projects ranging from railway repairs to the purchase of hybrid buses.
Learn more about construction-related opportunities and search for jobs.
Education Gets into the Rebuilding Act
Recovery Act funding for education is projected to create or save hundreds of thousands of jobs, from teaching positions to bricklayers. This may give school officials across the country a breather as they struggle to balance budgets while state and local funding dwindles.
Education spending will include a variety of initiatives, from billons of dollars in school repairs to additional millions for programs for students with learning disabilities.
Learn more about education-related opportunities and search for jobs.
Healthcare Gets a Shot in the Arm
The stimulus package includes many billions of dollars for healthcare, including $21 billion for healthcare information systems and technology.
“The new administration will emphasize capturing information to better deliver pharmaceuticals and healthcare services,” says Jason Hersh, managing partner of Kline Hersh International. “Professionals in medical informatics will be in demand over the coming years. Job seekers who are looking to transition skill sets into this environment should look into healthcare IT,” he says.
Learn more about healthcare-related opportunities and search for jobs.
Millions More Jobs to Be Added Across the Economy
Beyond the four strategic sectors, some 2.3 million jobs are projected via other components of the stimulus package, such as extensions of unemployment benefits, aid to states and tax cuts. These jobs will be born in diverse industries, including retail, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, professional and business services, government, financial, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information technology and services, mining and utilities.
Employment in these areas will likely come online sooner than jobs created in the strategic sectors. “Because it takes time to carry out new spending programs authorized by legislation, we expect the jobs created by spending on infrastructure, education, health and energy to be concentrated in 2010 and 2011” rather than this year, the administration report notes.
Even given this jobs-building program of historic proportions, the rising tide of unemployment is unlikely to reverse itself in the near term. “If we can start adding net jobs in early 2010, we can say the stimulus did its job,” says Shierholz.
Get Ready to Land a Stimulus Job
Whether you are hoping to find a job in one of the four strategic sectors -- energy, education, infrastructure, healthcare -- or one that is indirectly created by the stimulus package, you can take action right now to be ready to stand out as the jobs are posted.
- Research: Narrowing in on the types of jobs you want and are most qualified for will help you keep your job search on task. Check out Monster’s Career Snapshots to learn about different jobs and get insiders’ perspectives on what it is like to work in these fields. This can also help you identify any skills gaps you may have so you can seek the appropriate training.
- Update Your Resume: Now that you have some potential career goals in mind, you need to make sure your resume will get you there. Be sure your resume is ready to go with your most up-to-date skills and accomplishments, and consider customizing your resume to the different jobs you plan to apply for.
- Keep an Eye on Jobs: As the stimulus begins to have its impact on the economy, the job postings will trickle in. Set up saved job searches now for your different target jobs so that Monster can notify you as they are posted. And look for when Monster’s Keep America Working Tour will come to a city near you, so you can take advantage of the on-site career-building opportunities.