I was appalled to read a summary of a recent report that nearly 50 metropolitan regions in the USA- or more than one in seven- are unlikely to bring back their regions to job levels lost in the recession until after 2020. Yes you read it right- 2020, nearly nine further years, well beyond this Presidents further term of office, if he gets re-elected.
The report commissioned by the U.S Conference of Mayors are equally predicting 363 metropolitan areas would not generate enough jobs to get back to pre-recession peaks until 2014, based on current world economics. When you add in that metropolitan regions account for 86 per cent of all jobs you realize how stark this is. So we are entering that twilight zone for millions that have a number of lost years ahead of them to face a difficult, uncertain future.
The issue is not just the economic job loss but the types of job lost are just not easily going to be replaced. Many are simply gone, moved somewhere else in the world or just vanished forever. The level of re-skilling that needs to take place to move old-line factory jobs into technology related, advanced manufacturing for protecting added value areas or service sectors is simply massive.
Can innovation as is often suggested simply take up the slack? I think it is uinlikely. We need to think different, we need to think radically and innovation plays its delivery part in this.
Across the pond in the UK and much of Europe I suspect it is no different