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?"