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Jobs Will Be Job One For New President

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BY JOHN A. CHALLENGER

OUTLOOK: POST-ELECTION JOB CREATION

Jobs are on the forefront of many Americans’ minds going into this election season, especially job seekers. Each candidate promises to enact policies that will help ignite a recovery and new job growth, but where that growth occurs will depend heavily on who wins in November.

A McCain win will likely mean job gains in oil and gas, aerospace/defense, nuclear engineering, insurance, automotive and financial services.

Meanwhile, an Obama win could help spur job growth in education, telecommunications, manufacturing, alternative energy industries and construction.

It is impossible to say which future president will succeed in delivering an economic recovery and job growth, primarily because so many other factors will play a role in determining the outcome of their policy initiatives. All we can forecast now is where the job growth should be, based on each candidate’s policy objectives and priorities. For example, Obama has stated his intention of funding more research associated with alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. Meanwhile, McCain wants to lower our dependence on foreign oil by tapping our own resources and relying more on nuclear energy.

Either approach will create jobs, but only if Congress approves of the new policies, and the private sector takes action by investing in expansion. Obviously, there is a long road to travel from campaign promise to fulfillment. However, we can at least get an idea of where opportunities could exist when the new president takes over the White House. Job creation will be among the top priorities for the new president. Through September, employers have announced 763,090 job cuts, nearly as many as the 768,264 job cuts announced in all of 2007, according to the latest layoff tracking by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Meanwhile, the latest government data show that the unemployment rate has climbed to 6.1 percent, up from 4.7 percent a year ago. The number of people in August who have been out of work for at least six weeks reached 1.8 million, compared to 1.25 million last year. Furthermore, the number of Americans working part time due to slack business conditions and the unavailability of full-time positions has increased by 27 percent over the last 12 months to 5.7 million. Whatever the next president does to create jobs, the growing ranks of unemployed and underemployed will want it done quickly.

The following is an outlook of sectors where job seekers may have an advantage under the eventual president-elect:

JOB WINNERS UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA

· Manufacturing
Increasing labor costs in foreign markets and higher shipping costs are already starting to weaken the attractiveness of off-shore manufacturing. Obama’s plan to provide tax breaks to companies that manufacture products in America could be enough incentive to move some overseas production back to the United States.

· Education/Teachers
As thousands of teachers lose their jobs across the country due to lack of funding or decreased enrollment, Senator Obama plans to provide funding for teacher rewards such as higher pay and intervention strategies that include teaching teams, parent programs and personal academic plans to engage students in middle school. This initiative should create thousands of opportunities for teachers in early childhood education as well as academic counselors and mentors.

· Alternative Energy
Senator Obama pledges to invest $150 billion over the next decade in renewable energy, including developing and perfecting biofuel technology, creating and commercializing plug-in hybrid and electric cars, investing in low-emission coal plants, transitioning to a digital electricity grid and advancing solar and wind initiatives. These projects will require thousands of engineers, environmental scientists and equipment manufacturers and operators in the automotive, transportation, chemical and technology industries.

· Construction
Senator Obama has pledged $60 billion over the next ten years for projects to develop and maintain the national infrastructure. Construction workers will be needed to build or repair bridges and roads across the country, with job creation expected to reach as high as two million direct and indirect jobs per year.

· Civil Engineering
The money provided for infrastructure projects will also go toward the planning and implementation of designs for cities and towns. Civil engineers will be needed on the local and national level to develop and oversee these plans.

· Telecommunications
As the internet and cell phones become more and more important to Americans – from finding jobs to applying to college – Obama pledges to supply broadband networks to every community in the nation. With tax and loan incentives, thousands of telecommunications and technology workers will assist in reworking the nation’s wireless spectrum and creating new applications and next-generation facilities.

JOB WINNERS UNDER PRESIDENT McCAIN

· Oil & Gas
Senator McCain’s energy policy includes exploring domestic oil and natural gas supplies in order to end dependence on foreign oil. This move will likely create thousands of jobs, including petroleum technicians to collect information on oil locations, equipment manufacturers, engineers and laborers.

· Nuclear science/engineering
McCain’s plan to build 45 new nuclear power plants over the next two decades, providing an alternative source of cheap electricity is expected to produce 700,000 jobs. Seasoned workers will be needed to run plant operations, but entry-level workers can gain experience as laborers, with potential to replace their retiring counterparts after several years of training. The new plants will also need power distributors and dispatchers to monitor the flow of electricity.

· Construction
A portion of the 700,000 jobs needed to build 45 new nuclear power plants will come from the actual construction. McCain also proposes legislation to manufacture environmentally-friendly buildings, both for residential and business use, creating thousands of opportunities for construction workers.

· Insurance
Employer-sponsored health care costs have more than doubled over the last ten years, and the cost of insurance is on the forefront of most voters’ minds. Senator McCain proposes to reform the existing tax code to allow workers to choose their insurance providers outside of what their employers offer. This move will likely mean more competition in the insurance industry, creating hundreds of opportunities for sales people, claims adjusters, underwriters, examiners, investigators, management analysts, and administrators.

· Automotive
Senator McCain wants to provide incentives for automobile makers to develop fuel-efficient and hybrid technologies. Thousands of dollars in tax credits for fuel efficient cars, as well as a proposed $300 million prize for plug-in hybrid and fully electric batteries will likely substantially increase job opportunities in automotive engineering and manufacturing.

· Aerospace/Defense
Senator McCain strongly supports the development and deployment of missile defenses, increasing the size of the military and upgrading military technologies. To meet this goal, the government will have to order an increased amount of missile defense systems, weaponry and safety equipment, potentially creating thousands of manufacturing and engineering jobs, as well as dynamic recruitment efforts for the Armed Forces.


John A. Challenger John A. Challenger is chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the global outplacement consultancy that pioneered outplacement as an employer-paid benefit in the 1960s. Challenger is a recognized thought leader on workplace, labor, and economic issues.

Jobs Will Be Job One For New President © 2008, Challenger, Gray & Christmas;


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