As I write, economists are still glowing about this morning’s jobless claims report, which showed that fewer workers filed for unemployment last week than at any time since June 2007. Stocks rallied on the news, and predictions of a coming spurt in hiring began to echo through the Twittersphere. Although nothing in this fragile recovery is guaranteed (are you listening, Congress?), optimism about job growth is, for now, running encouragingly high.

All of which makes this the ideal moment to honor the companies that make job growth possible.

Inc.’s second annual Hire Power Awards does just that. Though much nonsense has been promulgated about the identity of America’s job creators, the research is clear:

Most net new jobs--that is, jobs created in excess of those destroyed by layoffs and business failure--come from the fast-growing companies that always have been at the heart of Inc.’s mission. (For the definitive story on job creation, check out “Who Really Creates the Jobs?” by editor-at-large Bo Burlingham, on Inc.com.)

Classic Inc. growth companies dominate this year’s Hire Power rankings, including the home-furnishings store Wayfair, jewelry maker Alex and Ani, and eyewear retailer Warby Parker. The top 100 Hire Power honorees alone created 51,327 jobs in the past 18 months, more job growth than 32 states recorded over the same stretch. You can meet the founders of some of these companies in the feature; the complete list lives on Inc.com.

Companies that grow and create jobs require leaders who actually know how to do their jobs. That brings us to this month’s cover story, which fills our entire Lead section. Under the guidance of deputy editor Dan Ferrara, a team of Inc. writers approached the smartest founders we could think of--starting with our cover subject, the hyperactive and compulsively helpful Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia--and asked, “What practices got you where you are today?” as well as “What are you best at?” and “What have you figured out that other entrepreneurs ought to know?” The result, in my opinion, is Inc. at its best--passing practical know-how and, sometimes, real wisdom from the entrepreneurs on the page to other entrepreneurs like you.

There’s one other feature that I’m particularly proud of in this month’s issue: a special bonus section created by my colleagues at Inc.’s sister publication, Build. Build’s editors are expert at zeroing in on the smartest leadership and management ideas now in circulation and distilling them into amazingly useful, jam-packed one- and two-page stories. I think you’ll find it addictive. Let me know if I’m right.