J.C. Mattingly
Moffat, Colo.

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March 3, 2014
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John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 3-3-14

Jobs, jobs, jobs.

There’s a lot of talk these days about job creation. I know a few old timers who shake their heads whenever they hear people talk about “creating” jobs. Our older generations usually didn’t worry about somebody creating a job for them. They found a job or made a job.

The world economies are becoming trans-nationally competitive in labor and are becoming more automated. The number of jobs are decreasing in the U.S. in the traditional manufacturing sectors at the same time that our population is getting older. The upcoming generations need good paying jobs to fund Social Security, Medicare, and pensions for retiring generations.

Where will jobs of the future come from? Some say technology, some say the government should do it, and others say the billionaires are the real job creators.

It turns out that the best job creator in the world is climate, and when climate changes, even more jobs are created. In future columns I will look at some of the businesses that are growing rapidly due, in large part, to climate change.

The headline events, such as when big storms hit major coastlines, like New Orleans, New York City, and New Jersey, cause billions of dollars to flow to those areas to rebuild. There are always legitimate questions about whether the relief funds are fairly and efficiently distributed, but there is no question that the resources are being used and jobs are being created.

The Sandy Relief Fund was $60 billion, all of which went somewhere and did something involving jobs. Everything from TV ads boosting the image of New Jersey, to companies engaged to oversee the distribution of the funds, to money “on the ground” to rebuild homes, business, and infrastructure — the funds were out there in the economy.

Very few companies have a payroll of $60 billion. To put that figure in perspective, the budget for the entire state of Colorado the same year as Sandy was $19 billion. A single storm created a payroll that was over three times the Colorado state budget. Something to think about.

Whenever tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes, and floods hit, funds move from insurance companies to private bank accounts, creating jobs. In the greater Boulder area, and out on to the flood plain of the South Platte, the flood of September, 2013 is still creating jobs. Construction and remodel businesses have work lined up for at two months ahead and are two weeks behind. Many construction and trade workers receive good wages when they are in high demand.

Companies that deal with mold mitigation and cleaning up environmental hazards that often occur with extreme storms are doing very well, and are also booked into the future. One company head told me it was likely they are booked, “Probably ... until the next big one hits.”

When droughts, hail storms, early freezes, or a host of multi-peril hazards negatively impact crop production, farmers receive crop insurance payments that, in some years, rival net farm income in the major commodities from actual production.

The fact is that climate happens. We have to clean up and rebuild. Climate chaos has both a dark side and bright side. In future columns I will look at some of the biggest winners in climate mitigation enterprises. Climate change, or climate chaos, has stimulated some businesses in ways that are truly surprising. ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Mar 5, 2014 01:44PM Published Mar 17, 2014 02:43PM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.