As the economy in the United States continues its slow and sometimes painful crawl out of the latest recession, a new portrait of the job market is beginning to emerge, according to a new report by Wired Magazine, with so-called smart jobs signaling the dawn of a new era in employment. Economists tend to agree U.S. workers have typically fallen into one of two categories over the last four decades: Employees whose salaries remain stagnant despite their tenure and years of experience and employees who accrue raises and, as a result, become financially stable or even wealthy. The gap between the two groups, according to the new report, could very well close significantly with the emergence of smart jobs. Smart jobs, as defined by Wired Magazine, are typically jobs that are “innovative and high tech, but most of them are located far from Silicon Valley or New York. They’re specialized, but that doesn’t mean you need a PhD or even (in some cases) a college degree to get them or to do them well—though they do require some serious training, whether on the job or in a vocational program.” Smart jobs essentially are those jobs that require specialized knowledge and creativity, but what does the emergence of this new job class mean to the U.S. economy and to Americans? Let’s consider what the report found:
- Smart jobs offer a cross between white and blue collar work, with positions in metal manufacturing, communication technology, medical technology, chemicals, plastics, and information technology.
- Small cities and towns are the epicenter of smart job growth. Cities cited in the report as earning the status of smart job hubs include Bethesda, Maryland; Omaha, Nebraska, Decatur, Illinois; Warner Robins, Georgia; Rochester, Minnesota; and Worcester, Massachusetts.
- Smart jobs put a new spin on tried and true industries. Wired Magazine reports the reemergence of the cotton industry as an example of an industry that has gone high tech. No longer do farmers work alone to plant successful crops. Instead, companies like Bayer, develop new seeds and test the seeds to determine which offer the highest likelihood of success. But, it goes beyond seed: Companies develop new soil and fertilizer, planting, picking, processing, and spinning techniques and products to make a farmer’s job easier.