Can Tech Create Enough Jobs to Continue the Recovery?

Mar 14, 2017 - 4:15pm

Jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s been at the top of every American’s mind as the country has struggled to recover from the great recession. Across America, hard-working middle class families have sought to regain their economic footing and continue to climb the ladder of success. It hasn’t been easy, but we are seeing signs that a brighter future lies ahead, and technology is helping contribute to the recovery.

From Boston to Silicon Valley, Seattle to Memphis, and Atlanta to Salt Lake City, innovation, creativity, and good old fashioned American ingenuity is helping foster a new era in economic growth. Technological innovations are rapidly changing our lives, our businesses and our economy. No longer is technology an isolated “new business sector.” Instead the technology industry is a facilitator, enabling innovation and growth, and improving operations across many sectors of our economy.

For example, artificial intelligence is being used to manage energy demand and diagnose complicated medical problems. Drone technology holds promise as a delivery method for lifesaving drugs in remote areas and provides farmers with data that improves crop yields. Autonomous cars are being tested in cities around the country as a means of improved safety and providing the elderly and handicapped with greater mobility. Wearable technologies are helping us lead healthier lifestyles, while the Internet of Things (IoT) is contributing to improvements in our lives every day through increased connectivity. Simply put, innovative technology is a driving force behind the creation of new jobs in America in fields like science, health care, education, transportation and many others

Overall, there were 6 million jobs in the U.S. technology industry last year and we expect to see this grow by 4.1 percent in 2017. What’s important to note is that technology related jobs run the gamut from low-skill to high-skill — from transportation logistics and warehouses to programmers and radiologists. In 2012, economists stated that because of a multiplier effect, each high-tech job in the U.S. creates five additional jobs in other local goods and services sectors across all income groups — jobs for construction workers, lawyers, dentists, schoolteachers, cooks and retail clerks.

The U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) is working with hundreds of traditional and non-traditional technology companies on rational policy solutions to drive economic growth and spur innovation that result in the creation of more jobs. What we are constantly hearing from our members is that to capitalize on the environment here at home companies need:

· A workforce capable of operating in the digital future. Investment in human capital will determine which countries lead in the technology of the future. America needs to focus on training in STEM fields for both children and adults. This training can come in many forms and we should explore all of them.

· Accelerated investment and infrastructure deployment at all levels. There are too many regulatory barriers to overdue infrastructure improvements that are critical for modernizing our infrastructure and speeding IoT development and deployment.

· Reduced regulatory burdens, compliance costs, and overlap. A multitude of uncoordinated state and federal efforts are creating an uncertain regulatory environment for many new technologies. Government should evaluate existing regulatory activities and ensure that they are supportive and do not constitute unintentional barriers.

American technological innovation and the jobs it is creating is already helping to accelerate America’s economic growth, expand our global dominance in innovation and entrepreneurship, and get more Americans back to work. Now, with the right policies and investments, the technology industry can continue to grow and benefit hard-working American families.