There’s a #Job in Your Pocket

The Big Hurt

We have a jobs crisis in the United States that is devastating working class Americans. How do we dig our way out of this?  You could give THIS a shot.  I don’t recommend it.

As former Congressional Budget Office Director Peter Orzag shows, GROWTH is everything.  Many good ideas have been discussed by the Council of Economic Advisers:

…measures to extend the payroll tax cut, pass the pending free trade agreements, and create an infrastructure bank to help put Americans back to work.

There is also talk of allowing the unemployed to use their benefits as subsidies towards future wages.  But will these measures significantly bend that jobless curve?  Probably not.  

Turn to Clinton, who even today declares “IT’S STILL THE ECONOMY, STUPID.”  Yes, please, to infrastructure and green energy investments, and progressive tax reform, like NACIE's recommendations for early-stage access to capital.  Let us not forget the crucial need for science and engineering education, as the new economy cannot fill these types of jobs fast because candidates are “NOT QUALIFIED.”  But will these investments of capital and focus help working class Americans pay their bills this month, or next?  Probably not.  You could trying picking up a quick $10,000 like THIS, though.

Unemployment Duration

So WHERE ARE THE JOBS?  

Job Sector Growth

It becomes evident that the sources of current, immediate growth are highly focused in the services industries.  In any growth scenario, 90% of the US workforce is currently employed in the service sector, the paramount sector for growth.  So, how can working class Americans find good paying, respectable service jobs, which will in turn bolster consumer spending and tax revenues?  Robert Atkinson, of the National Journal, writes:

Today, 5 billion smartphones and other mobile devices have more computing power than the 1980s supercomputers. But over the next five years, the mobile economy will to rise to a whole new level as 4G mobile broadband comes on the scene with speeds equaling or exceeding today’s wired speeds and as hundreds of millions of people adopt smart mobile devices, from tablets to smartphones to e-book readers. The result will be an array of new applications, services, and business models that will create millions of U.S. jobs and power America’s growth.

Let us look to history for a lesson.  When Lincoln led as Commander in Chief during the Civil War, he understood the value of placing the best tools and technology in the hands of his men on the front lines.  In fact, he personally tested and approved the prototype of the Spencer repeating rifle, which proved invaluable in battle, disrupting old methods of strategy and tactics.  Today, as we face yet another national challenge, we can do well by unemployed and underworked Americans by heeding Lincoln’s lesson.  

Thankfully, the best tools at hand are already in 40% of Americans pockets.  What is more, we see a higher SMARTPHONE ADOPTION rate in youth and minority populations, where the jobs crisis hits especially hard.

USA Smartphone Adpotion

This is a crucial development that was lacking in the last tech bubble — mobile advancements that that are ubiquitous and powerful enough to provide a platform for serious leverage for small business owners, ie iOS and Android.

Small Business Goes Mobile

Clearly, mobile platforms and applications are allowing small businesses to capture efficiency gains in their existing operations, and to some degree, generate new business.  But isn’t there something more?  

Look to www.uber.com as a case study.  Uber is a fast-growing VC funded (Benchmark Capital) startup that allows smartphone users to order private drivers from its mobile app in real time.  Uber’s success to date is astounding, in terms of their user growth and user satisfaction — you can read more about them HERE and HERE and @Uber.  

Uber Mobile App

One of the core reasons I believe Uber has found success in service-via-mobile niche is its team’s focus on the sole proprietors and the small business owners that provide customers with the end service.  Imagine a responsible homeowner and parent who has faced a layoff and extended unemployment.  Foreclosure could be looming, retirement is an afterthought and there seems to be no way to generate income to save for college.  Rather than suffer weeks or months of the standard boilerplate job search, on can enterprise via mobile.  This can be as simple, yet technologically bold as leasing a classy ride, signing up with Uber, and using the smartphone you already own to create your own job — one that pays well enough to provide for your family, is technologically advanced yet user friendly, and provides a sense of honor.

Simply put, Uber shows us where one can find a job — in their own pocket.