Perspectives: Let’s Talk about Jobs

By Elizabeth Ingram

Job creation. It’s a top-of-mind issue for many countries throughout the world, including the U.S. and Canada.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, a global management consulting firm, for the U.S. to return to full employment – finding work for the currently unemployed and accommodating new entrants into the labor force this decade – the U.S. economy will need to create 21 million jobs by 2020.

This is a lofty target, to be sure.

Job creation trends in the U.S. are positive at this time, which allows us to hold out hope that things are moving in the right direction. For example, Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index (Weekly) indicates job creation has been on a generally upward trend in this country since about April 2009. (However, the index has not yet reached the level it was at in February 2008.)

Of the new jobs that are being created, where are they? Overwhelmingly, in the private sector. In fact, according to Gallup’s index, the federal government is in a negative hiring situation, with an index value of -12, compared with a non-government index value of 25. (This situation is a reversal of what was experienced in 2008 and 2009, when the federal government had an index of 30 and the private sector -5.)

In Canada, according to a July 2013 Huffington Post Canada news article, an analysis of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data finds Canada has fallen behind a majority of developed countries when it comes to job creation. The article quotes Canadian Auto Workers economist Jim Stanford as saying Canada needs to increase the number of jobs by about 1.5% per year to keep up with population growth.

Where am I going with all of this? You know I’m headed right to hydropower!

This industry has great potential to add to jobs around the world, from development of new hydro plants, rehabilitation of existing plants, and service industry jobs surrounding these two activities.

For a specific example of job creation in this industry, we need only turn to the 84-MW Cannelton project, which is under construction on the Ohio River in Kentucky. Developer American Municipal Power (AMP) says this project will employ about 400 construction workers at peak. Once operational, the facility will employ seven to nine permanent operators and annually contribute $2.5 million to $3 million to the local economy.

I would love to see every article or news story discussing new hydroelectric development, no matter where it is published, highlight the job creation benefits of this industry. So, I am going to make a personal commitment to do my best to accomplish that in the two hydropower industry magazines PennWell publishes.

Do you know of great job creation statistics with regard to hydropower? Share those, or your own story of job creation, by sending me an email at elizabethi@pennwell.com.

Let’s get the word out and continue to support hydropower as a valuable source of new jobs, in North America and beyond.

Guest Editorial –
by Elizabeth Ingram


Elizabeth Ingram is senior editor of Hydro Review.

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