Whether reading the news or turning on the television, you are likely seeing extensive press coverage, both positive and negative, about the economic stimulus package (aka American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). While opinions vary significantly, it is possible to find some consensus from economists regarding the likely positive impacts, particularly for job seekers within struggling sectors. As a result of the many public works, green investment, and transportation portions of the stimulus, there are some key industries that are sure to grow.
According to Yahoo! News1, there are hundreds of millions of dollars being directed toward infrastructure projects, including roads, public transit, school renovations, and energy transmission systems—leading many economists to predict that more than 500,000 new construction jobs will be created. This means that in the near future, private firms and government agencies will be searching for skilled construction professionals as they position themselves to carry out government infrastructure contracts.
This boom could impact related sectors as well. For example, building a high-speed rail system requires civil engineers, mechanical engineers, architects, designers, surveyors, and ironworkers (to name a few) who, along with project managers, laborers, contractors, and support personnel, will be vital to deploying such large-scale projects.
With massive amounts of stimulus funding earmarked for "green investment" or environmental projects, research in renewable energy, eco-friendly products, and energy efficiency can be expected to grow. Yahoo! News reports that the government will provide more than $20 billion in tax incentives for firms focusing on these areas, which translates to more money left over for new project or hiring initiatives.
Whether you are an engineer, a laboratory assistant, a research and development technician, or a trained scientist, keep your eye on the job market and watch the leaders in "green" industry. It is not hard to imagine that if you have a background supporting research operations as a project manager, administrative assistant, or executive manager, you may see more opportunities, as well!
One commonly overlooked facet of the stimulus plan calls for accelerated deployment of broadband and related telecommunications infrastructure. Laying fiber optic cables across a rural county is a complex project involving hundreds of professionals and millions of dollars. For every new area added to the broadband grid, new support teams, network controllers, and maintenance crews will be needed.
While economists generally agree on the above, projections about the rippling impact of the stimulus package are more speculative. Nonetheless, where there is growth, people are working, which means they have income to spend on essentials like housing, food, and clothing in addition to luxuries. Thus, the long-term effect from spending in these industries could mean that retail, service, and administrative industries will also see growth.