Posted by Fred Humphries
Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

During last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama stated, “In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives; it’s how we make a living.” 

The president’s words are a great reminder about the role technology plays in strengthening the American economy. The end of 2010 showed an increase in consumer confidence, consumer spending and an overall strong gross domestic product, yet Americans across the country still list the economy as their number one concern. 

As governments and businesses look for ways to create jobs and strengthen the U.S. economy, technology remains a bright spot in our economy by helping to drive innovation, job creation and entrepreneurship.

These themes will be the focus of a new special section on jobs and the economy from The Atlantic and sponsored by Microsoft, that will run from Feb. 1 through Feb. 18. Featuring a wealth of original articles and commentary from The Atlantic newsroom, the section will also feature video submissions from university students and thought leaders providing their own unique view on the economy and the country’s future.

In addition, the site will feature an interactive online conversation with the public utilizing Microsoft’s TownHall technology.

On Wednesday, Feb. 9, this online conversation will take the form of a live studio event in Washington, D.C. Webcast live, the event will feature discussions with key policymakers and thought leaders, including:
 
• Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council
• FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski
• Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell
 
Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour, will moderate the discussion.

In both the live event and online, we’ll explore such timely topics as America’s place in the global economy, entrepreneurship and technology and innovation’s role in creating jobs and strengthening the U.S. economy. 

Microsoft knows the powerful impact technology plays on our economy. We know that technology fosters entrepreneurship and opens up unlimited opportunities. We know that technological innovation creates jobs. We also know that technological breakthroughs have the power to change peoples’ lives for the better.

I encourage you all to visit The Atlantic’s special section on jobs and the economy beginning Feb. 1 at www.theatlantic.com/special-report/jobs-and-economy. To provide your own thoughts on these issues, or to pose questions for our town hall speakers, please visit http://www.jobsandeconomy.com/.