White House estimates 168,000 construction jobs saved or created

In a report released Jan. 13, the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) created or saved about 168,000 jobs in the construction sector through the end of 2009. That figure represents an increase of 35,000—or 26 percent—compared with the 133,000 construction jobs CEA estimated in its study issued Sept. 10, 2009.

The report also says ARRA increased employment by 1.5 million to 2 million as of the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with job levels if the legislation had not been enacted.

Although CEA says its numbers are only estimates and not a compilation of jobs reports, the figures are lower than the ARRA job figures that states and localities reported to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; according to the committee, as of Nov. 30, 2009, ARRA-funded highway and transit projects alone have produced or saved more than 250,000 "direct, on-project jobs."

However, the construction industry lost another 53,000 jobs and its overall unemployment rate increased to 22.7 percent in December, which is the highest number since at least 2000. And the construction industry's ARRA-related job gains have been more than offset by losses in nonresidential construction and public works funded by state and local governments.

As of Dec. 31, 2009, $263.3 billion of ARRA's $787 billion has been spent.

Date : 1/14/2010