As the United States faces the challenge of creating more employment nationwide, new jobs are coming from an unexpected place — the “positive-impact” sector, says a recent report from HIP Investor Inc., a San Francisco-based wealth management firm that helps advisors create portfolios focused on sustainability.
Three out of 10 jobs in the U.S. economy focus on building a better world, and while the government has traditionally been the primary positive-impact job creator, that role is increasingly being taken over by private industry, according to HIP Investor authors R. Paul Herman, an RIA and CIO, and Tom Bowmer, a corporate financial analyst.
“In 2011, approximately 21 million of the 110 million jobs in the private industry positively affected society,” the authors write in “Who Are the Real Job Creators? Not Who You Think,” citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data. “This private industry contribution primarily came from the sub-sectors of health care, education and social assistance services, but it also includes positive-impact sectors like utility system construction, environmental waste remediation, and grant-making institutions.”
Positive-Impact Jobs Grew by 21% in Last 10 Years
According to HIP Investor’s analysis of annual jobs data released by the BLS between 2002 and 2011, jobs in the positive-impact sector of the U.S. economy have grown by 21%, at a rate of about 2% annually, while total private industry jobs subtracting the impact sector have fallen by -3.7%, or -0.4% annually.
But if the U.S. is to keep its recovery on track, it must create jobs at a faster rate, the authors assert.
“After four years, the U.S. economy has barely managed to make a dent in the jobs gap,” write Herman and Bowmer. “By contrast, at this point in the economic cycle, every other post-WWII recession had managed to return to its previous jobs peak. A new approach, which recognizes where the jobs are in the 21st century economy and how to design policies to stimulate further job creation, is needed.”
If private sector job growth continues at its long-term historical rate of 1.25%, the U.S. economy will not reach full employment until 2020, according to the HIP Investor authors’ analysis.