"Finally - an irrefutable sign we have turned the corner with respect to unemployment," said a White House spokesperson who declined to be named for this report. "Nothing would bring more timely relief than news of other solar systems accepting applications."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics -- which grudgingly acknowledges that the actual number of Americans who are not working full-time but ought to be is close to 22 million -- was quick to point out that based on this month's index of 9.6%, we have seen "almost a full one percent drop" since peak levels of 10.2% in October of 2009. A media representative for the Labor Department added, "Not impressed? Just watch what happens now."
There has been widespread speculation that significant opportunities will emerge in the hospitality, food service and big-box retail industries. Other possible scenarios abound. "Is there even air? You don't know," said one international logistics expert. And while transportation and commuting expenses may ultimately be less than imagined, no one has calculated what potential ex-pat packages to other galaxies, plus benefits, could include.
Staffing concerns such as Addecco, Manpower and Kelly Services are reportedly gearing up for a surge in business after months of hardship and attrition. Although the role these companies might conceivably play in the selection and acquisition of qualified candidates is murky at best, the overwhelming sentiment has been that of optimism.
"Now, more than ever, our name is synonymous with jobs and new career vistas," said a senior executive at Monster.com, speaking on condition of anonymity. When asked to confirm this morning's viral Wall Street rumor that a satellite organization was in the works -- tentatively named Alien.com -- the response was an enigmatic, "No comment."
The anticipated recruitment boom has not been without its detractors, notably in the volatile arena of politics. "Here is yet another indication that the Obama stimulus package has failed to produce the jobs we were promised," said an unidentified GOP leader. "It's a sad day for our planet when the chief source of job growth is from beyond the troposphere."
Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was uncharacteristically terse on the subject, but not without his trademark tone of provocation. "Okay, let me ask you this," he said. "Why China?"
Speaking off the record, a Democratic senator whose state unemployment is among the highest said he's ready to support this exciting development as soon as he gets the nod from party officials in Washington. "My constituents in particular are long overdue for a close encounter of the hiring kind," he said. "If this is indeed a clear signal that the recovery is gaining momentum, we are thrilled to make contact with our new amigos from space."
To no one's surprise, the most immediate financial rewards have come to the publishing industry in the form of business and related self-help books. Titles such as What Color Is Your Space Capsule? and Help - My Supervisor Is An Android! have already shattered previous records for advance sales. Career counselors and coaches likewise predict a sharp spike in demand for their services, though at this stage it remains a mystery what value, if any, they might add.
Meanwhile, preparations are under way by the World Economic Forum to accommodate an unknown-sized delegation of extraterrestrials at its annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, this coming January. A local sponsor commented, "We have no idea how many beings to expect, but we're hoping they like chocolate."