U.S. News

Stimulus creates, saves more jobs in June: committee

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of jobs created or saved by infrastructure projects funded by the U.S. economic stimulus plan more than doubled in June from May, according to a report released Tuesday by a House of Representatives committee.

At the end of June, 49,377 jobs had been “created or sustained” by water, highway and public transportation projects, compared to slightly more than 21,000 jobs at the end of May.

The Pacific Northwestern state of Washington accounted for the most jobs of any state or territory at 3,481, with the bulk of those concentrated in highway repairs.

According to the Transportation Department, Washington has also been obligated some $627.8 million out of the $22.7 billion the states have requested from the federal government under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

President Barack Obama pushed to dedicate $48 billion in the two-year, $787 billion recovery act to transportation projects, in the hopes of allaying painfully high unemployment levels in construction and related work.

A few states and territories, such as Georgia and Guam, have not reported any jobs created or saved by the increased infrastructure spending. Capital works projects have begun everywhere except the territories.

Only 142 capital works have been completed, however, the committee said.

The House committee regularly tracks how stimulus money is distributed to clean water revolving funds, highway infrastructure projects and transit capital assistance and will have a hearing on spending on Friday. Most states have used most of the stimulus money for highway repairs, according to the committee.

A total of 5,079 highway and transit projects have been put out to bid in all 50 states, four territories and the District of Columbia, totaling $16.7 billion, the committee said.

A job counts as created if it did not exist before a stimulus grant was given to a project. A sustained or saved job would have been eliminated if not for stimulus money. The committee does not distinguish between jobs created and saved in its report.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert