Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Construction Jobs Stimulated or Not? How Many Obama Stimulus Construction Jobs Created?

Everyday we hear the Obama administration talk about the jobs the Stimulus spending has created or saved.  The construction industry has particularly been in the spotlight, because...afterall, shovel-ready-projects were awaiting stimulation. So how many Obama construction jobs have been "created?"

Construction Jobs Stimulated or Not?

Chris Thorman at Construction Software Advice gathered and analyzed the data recently released from Recovery.gov., state-by-state. Chris and his team have determined that the President is not even close to his goal. Even worse is Thorman's finding that each job that has been created or "saved" has cost the taxpayer an average of $222,107.00 per job. As this administration is prone to do, a program was launched without the expertise needed to carry it through.

For one thing, many of these "shovel-ready-projects" weren't so shovel-ready, and monies set aside were for projects that were ready to go within 90 days. Popular Mechanics has an opinion about what kind of project might meet that qualification:
The programs that would meet the bill’s 90-day restriction are, for the most part, an unappealing mix of projects that were either shelved after being fully designed and engineered, and have since become outmoded or irrelevant, or projects with limited scope and ambition. No one’s building a smart electric grid or revamping a water system on 90 days notice.

That was largely unskilled labor. Today, it’s blue collar, but it’s not unskilled,” Levinson says. “The guy brushing the asphalt back and forth is unskilled, but the guy operating the steamroller isn’t. And there’s an assumption out there that construction workers are interchangeable between residential and highway projects. But a carpenter isn’t a whole lot of help in building a road.” 
According to Thorman, only one-third of the monies designated to construction has been disbursed. Do we assume that is because there were few jobs that could meet the guidelines of the 90-day window?

In March, President Obama said that 150,000 jobs would be created or saved by the end of 2009 with "road-building provisions" of the stimulus.
The number of jobs that will be created or saved by the highway construction program will exceed the number of jobs lost during the past three years by the Big-Three automakers, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, combined, Obama said....
Transportation projects that were once on hold are now starting up again as part of the largest new investment in America's infrastructure since President Eisenhower built the interstate highway system," the president said today at the DOT, appearing alongside Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
It is also worth noting that jobs in highway construction tend to pay better than average,'' the White House said in a written statement. (Thorman proved this)

"The typical, or median hourly wage for all jobs in the economy was $15.10 in 2007,'' the White House said, citing Bureau of Labor statistics. "But for workers in the highway industry, the typical hourly wage was $18.31, a premium of over $3 per hour over the economy-wide median wage. ''
I believe in the same speech to the Department of Transportation, he said "we are seeing shovels hit the ground." The original allotment for construction jobs was $131 billion. You will be shocked to learn how much has actually been disbursed.

Visit Construction Software Advice and see exactly how many jobs have been created or "saved" with stimulus funds, and much of the "government" money has been spent. You can check out your own state, see the dollars awarded, the dollars actually received, the jobs created (which includes "saved"), and the cost per job in your state.

My state of Oklahoma, for instance, is awarded $707million, we have received $191million, we created 1,390 jobs with that money (and I'm dubious - we have a Democrat governor), and each job has cost taxpayers approximately $137231. Louisiana, however, has an average job cost (that's each job) of $397,895 - creating just 1056 jobs! Who knew construction paid so well in Louisiana, or maybe administrative fees added to the huge per job cost? Alabama, another state with extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina, has an average job cost of $369,982 and has created 1,190 jobs. The lowest per job cost is Michigan, at an average of $47,536. Go take a look at this very interesting report.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton