$2 billion remains from stimulus funds in NC


The federal stimulus program that began almost a year and a half ago still has a lot of money left to spend in the North Carolina, according to a recent article in the Triad Business Journal.

As politicians and economists debate the need for another round of government spending to make up for still-weak private sector demand and anemic job growth, state officials say they have about one-third of the roughly $6 billion they control still to disburse.

It’s not clear how much stimulus money is still working its way through various local governments and agencies in the Triad, but there are large pots of money yet to start flowing in key areas such as the city of Greensboro, The Business Journal reports.

For instance, this month the city awarded final contracts for $2.6 million of stimulus-funded work through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a part of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. That money is meant to acquire and rehabilitate blighted properties.

At the state level, about 62 percent of the $6 billion overseen directly by North Carolina has been disbursed, according to Dempsey Benton, who heads the Office of Economic Revovery and Investment. Distribution of about $600 milion in stimulus fuinding to local school districts is about halfway completed, he said.

The state is on pace with the rest of the country in spending its allocated stimulus funding. Read more.

Jobs created or saved

Congressional analysts released new figures Tuesday estimating that the stimulus measure law enacted in January of 2009 created or saved as many as 3.3 million jobs and continues to boost economic growth in the second half of 2010.

The analysis published by the New York Times credits the stimulus measure with increasing the number of people employed somewhere between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs between April and June — and boosting the gross domestic product by as much as 4.5 percent.

In May, the nonpartisan office estimated the law had created or saved between 1.2 million and 2.8 million jobs during the first three months of the year, and increased GDP by up to 4.2 percent. The measure has lowered unemployment as much as 1.8 percent in the second quarter of the year, according to the report.

The analysis also suggests, however, that most of the bang the still-lagging economy is going to get for its stimulus buck has already occurred. About 70 percent of the measure’s cost will have been incurred by the end of next month, the report said, and its effects on jobs and economic growth are expected to dwindle in the second half of the year and gradually disappear starting in 2011.