On the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an analysis of stimulus data shows the law will deliver more construction jobs than initially estimated, helping boost transportation spending
Sources: Associated General Contractors of America, Arlington, Va.; CP staff
On the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an analysis of stimulus data shows the law will deliver more construction jobs than initially estimated, helping boost transportation spending. AGC’s analysis also finds that more contractors are likely to perform ARRA-backed jobs this year as work commences on many of the non-transportation projects funded in the initial package.
The stimulus is one of the very few bright spots the construction industry experienced last year and is one of the few hopes keeping it going in 2010, said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. The stimulus is saving construction jobs, driving demand for new equipment and delivering better and more efficient infrastructure for our economy.
He noted that new federal reports show the $20.6 billion dollars worth of stimulus highway projects initiated over the past 12 months have saved or created nearly 280,000 direct construction jobs. That amounts to 15,000 jobs per billion dollars invested, well above pre-stimulus estimates that every billion invested in infrastructure projects would create 9,700 direct construction jobs. Simonson added that heavy and civil engineering construction employment was stable last month even as total construction employment declined by 75,000. Meanwhile, highway and road work was one of the only areas to see an increase in spending last year even as total construction spending fell by $100 billion.
Simonson’s peer at Portland Cement Association, Chief Economist Edward Sullivan, speaking at World of Concrete 2010 in Las Vegas earlier this month, seemed to be in agreement about the impact stimulus money in general and highway construction specifically would have on construction materials industries. But taking into account deteriorating state fiscal balances and the delay in releasing ARRA highway funds, Sullivan believes the real timing of any serious improvements in cement consumption or job creation will not be felt until the end of 2010, into 2011.