Stimulus helps NC contractors post gains in public works

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Total construction spending eked out a small rise in June as gains in stimulus-aided public categories offset decreases in homebuilding and private nonresidential spending, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said in an analysis of new Census Bureau data. “Stimulus dollars are supporting construction jobs, but the pain is continuing for most contractors and their workers who depend on private projects or school construction,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.

Among public categories, Simonson remarked that highway and wastewater construction each rose for the fourth consecutive month; other public transportation facilities—transit, rail and airports—jumped 20 percent from a year earlier; and public housing soared 31 percent compared to June 2009. “All of these categories have benefited from stimulus funds.

Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the construction association, called on Congress and the White House to quickly enact legislation to provide long-term funding for public infrastructure spending and certainty for private construction. “It is deplorable that the airport trust fund is now on its 14th short-term extension, the highway and transit trust fund is in danger of shutting down on December 31, and there is no trust fund to sustain vitally needed water infrastructure upgrades,” Sandherr said.

90,000 jobs created or saved in NC

In July the Council of Economic Advisers released a report that the the federal stimulus bill passed in early 2009 has created or saved 90,000 jobs in North Carolina. The report did not break the gains down by metro areas.

The statewide job total was arrived at by looking at the results of three measurements and then averaging the findings. Those three approaches considered the percentage of all non-farm jobs in North Carolina, the percentage of stimulus dollars the state has received and the parceling out of job growth among 42 industries according to how concentrated they are in each state.

Nationally, the report says, 3.05 million jobs have been created or saved.

In the region, the stimulus has created or saved 41,000 jobs in South Carolina, the report says. The impact in Virginia was 41,000 jobs, and in Georgia the total was 91,000.

Some 618,000, or 20 percent, of the jobs created or saved nationwide were in various forms of construction; 292,000 in health care and health-care information technology; 254,000 in environmental cleanup; and 827,000 in clean energy.
The report did not specify the impact in North Carolina by industry category.

The report comes as the the Tar Heel State jobless rate dipped to 10 percent in June — the lowest month rate of the year. The N.C. Employment Security Commission said the unemployment rate declined from 10.4 percent in May.

Click Here to view the AGC press release.

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