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What can be done to create jobs? Six leading ideas.

The job market has shown some very welcome signs of improvement lately, but it still has a long way to go before approaching something Americans would call normal. Here’s a look at some of the proposed solutions out there. 

4. Energize the job market, literally

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    In this file photo, a worker for Thermal House blows bio-based, closed-cell foam insulation into a home in Jamaica, Vt., to make it more energy efficient. The home dates back to the 1700s.
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One of the economy's big needs, energy, can also be a big source of new jobs, economists say. This theme has been heard on the presidential campaign trail, as Republicans tout the promise of domestic natural-gas and shale-oil production. But this can be an area of bipartisan agreement. (A big part of Bill Clinton's recent book, "Back to Work," is about energy-related ideas.)

And it's not all about fossil fuels. Energy efficiency, for instance, could also be a ripe field for job creation. Efforts by the Obama administration to promote energy upgrades in US buildings haven't scored huge job gains, but a well-crafted incentive program could still work.

"The US has about 77 million freestanding houses, and only about 1 million of them are up to Energy Star standards, so this could create jobs for a while," writers Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson say in a book being released soon by William Morrow, called "Where Did the Jobs Go – and How Do We Get Them Back?"

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