Companies & Industries

Where the U.S. Can Find 5 Million Jobs and $2 Trillion in GDP


For chief executives lamenting the sluggish state of the U.S. economy, here’s something to hold onto: McKinsey has identified five opportunities that can reinvigorate U.S. businesses and “add hundreds of billions of dollars to annual GDP and create millions of new jobs by 2020.”

Here are the areas and some eye-opening numbers:

Shale-gas and shale-oil production
With the advances in drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. shale boom could add as much as $690 billion a year to GDP and create up to 1.7 million jobs.

Knowledge-intensive goods
An increase in production and exports in “knowledge intensive” industries—autos, airlines, and medical devices, among others—could pump up to $590 billion into GDP and boost job rolls by up to 1.8 million.

Big-data analytics as a productivity tool
Advances in Big Data will help companies save money and uncover new opportunities. In retailing and manufacturing, that could increase annual GDP up to $325 billion and cut up to $285 billion from the cost of health care and government services.

Increased investment in infrastructure
The dilapidated state of the nation’s infrastructure—roads, bridges, and transit and water systems—puts “the country at a competitive disadvantage.” An increase in infrastructure investment could create up to 1.8 million jobs and boost GDP by up to $320 billion.

Talent development
The U.S. educational system is falling behind other countries. But new digital learning tools, more industry-specific job training, and improving science, technology, engineering, and math skills could raise GDP by as much as $265 billion.

Sager is director of special projects for Businessweek.com.

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