A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute projects a daunting task ahead for the U.S. economy: create 21 million jobs by 2020. Oh, and in the near term, we also still need to get 7 million people back to work who are victims of the 2008-09 recession. Chief among possible solutions will be adequate training our workforce to fill vacant jobs in the future. That’s likely why Kris Deckard, executive director of Ready Indiana, was interviewed for the report.
The research analyzes the causes of slow job creation in the period before the recession and during the recovery and the implications of these forces for future job growth. The research projects how the US labor force will evolve over the next ten years and creates different scenarios for job growth based on extensive analysis of sector trends. MGI’s central finding is that a return to full employment will occur in only the most optimistic job growth scenario. This will require not only a robust economic recovery, but also a concerted effort to address other factors that impede employment, including growing gaps in skill and education.
The report offers a range of illustrative solutions based on lessons from US states and other countries that MGI hopes will add to the national conversation on jobs. Findings include:
Recoveries are increasingly becoming "jobless" due to firm restructuring, skill and geographic mismatches between workers and jobs, and sharp decline in new start-ups.
The US needs to create 21 million new jobs by 2020 to regain full employment – and only achieves this in our most optimistic job growth scenario.
The US workforce will continue to grow until 2020, but under current trends, many workers will not have the right skills for the available jobs. Technology is changing the nature of work: jobs are being disaggregated into tasks, work is becoming virtual, and firms are relying on flexible labor (temporary, contract workers). These trends offer new opportunities for creating jobs in the United States, a trend that some companies do not fully appreciate.
Progress on four dimensions will be essential for reviving the US job creation machine: develop the US workforces’ skill to better match what employers are looking for; expand US workers’ share of global economic growth by attracting foreign investment and spurring exports; revive the nation’s spark by supporting emerging industries, ensuring more of them scale up in the United States, and reviving new business start-ups; and speed up regulatory decision-making that blocks business expansion and new investment.