Can the Facebook economy help Americans find jobs?

Facebook's new "Social Jobs Partnership" with U.S. Department of Labor aims to help Americans leverage social networks for employment

Laura Locke
Laura Locke is a senior writer for CNET, covering social media, emerging trends, and start-ups. Prior to joining CNET, she contributed extensively to Time and Time.com for much of the past decade.
Laura Locke
2 min read

Facebook and the U.S. Department of Labor are teaming up to help unemployed Americans find work via social networks.

The new effort, announced Thursday in Washington, D.C and live streamed on Facebook, is called the "Social Jobs Partnership." A video of the event can be found here. Also joining the effort is a coalition of employment service non-profits: the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), DirectEmployers Association (DE), and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA).

As part of the initiative, there's a new Facebook page aimed at job seekers and employers. Eventually, the page will present specialized resources and content. Seems the word is already getting out. On the evening of its launch, the page had 3,353 fans, up from a 1,000 earlier in the day.

Free job postings are also being considered. Facebook says it's examining ways to deliver these virally across its vast network. (Watch out Craigslist?)

A series of "in-depth" surveys will be conducted by Facebook to better understand how job seekers, college career centers, and recruiting offices are leveraging social networks.

Facebook says it plans to issue a series of public service announcements to promote the new page in the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, including Puerto Rico, which faces a 16 percent jobless rate.

In stark contrast, Facebook's own economy is on fire.

The seven-year-old private company famously founded by Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm room, is a job-making meme: developers that create apps on top of the Facebook platform have spawned 235,644 jobs and contributed $15.7 billion to the U.S. economy. (And those are just the conservative figures from a study issued in September by the University of Maryland's business school.)

What's more, Facebook is widely expected to file next year for an IPO, which some reports say could be based on a valuation of $100 billion. Some former employees have already cashed in their shares on secondary markets. Global revenues for the world's largest social network are on track to hit $4.27 billion this year, up from $2 billion last year, according to a forecast issued in September by eMarketer, a market research company.

While the "Social Jobs Partnership" is undoubtedly admirable, the underlying issue remains: job creation. How does that transpire? Especially at the national, regional, and local levels. If Facebook could turn its mighty brain trust on that, architect a widespread solution, that would be a cause for real hope and change.