Of all the reasons to consider cloud computing — lowered capital expenses from not purchasing new computers, predictable cost of maintenance through the pay-by-the-drink model, the ability to quickly scale up processing capacity, ease of setting new employees up with computers — you rarely hear anyone say it will create new jobs. If anything, logic would suggest that fewer corporate IT staff are needed when IT resources are delivered through a highly automated cloud utility.

Two analyst firms — IDC and Gartner — have come out with differing views on this issue. IDC came out with a Microsoft-commissioned report that projects that spending on public and private IT cloud services will generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide from 2011 to 2015 and that IT innovation created by cloud computing could produce $1.1 trillion a year in new business revenues. Nearly 1.2 million of those new cloud-related jobs will be created in the U.S. and Canada, according to the IDC study.

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