New proposed infrastructure and public building investments will create or support almost two million jobs throughout the entire economy in part because of the economic slowdown and massive construction layoffs that have occurred, George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller testified last week.
Fuller, who made the arguments during Congressional testimony on behalf of the Associated General Contractors of America, noted that the current stimulus plan's proposed infrastructure investments would create or support more than 1.85 million new jobs between now and the end of 2010. He said that would include more than 620,000 construction jobs, 300,000 jobs in supplying industries and 930,000 jobs throughout the broader economy.
"The sharp decline in construction employment and activity we have seen over the past two years mean that the sector has plenty of capacity to quickly take on new projects," Fuller told the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "Two years ago these kinds of investments might have trickled out the door, but in today's climate, they are going to flood out into the economy."
Fuller said that, in addition to the statutory spending deadlines being considered, the new infrastructure investments would flow quickly because an unusually high number of companies and workers are available to begin work immediately.
Fuller noted, for example, that the construction industry has plenty of capacity to handle the range of infrastructure projects being considered in the stimulus legislation. He added that the planned infrastructure funding would account for approximately 9 percent of current construction funding nationwide at a time when construction output is down 14 percent.
Fuller also argued that at the current rate being considered, these new infrastructure investments could easily be handled by the construction sector. "The sums are far less than the available capacity of the construction industries, especially since the Act would spread investment across many types of structures," he said. "There is sufficient capacity to absorb the added demand."
The Associated General Contractors of America is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States. AGC represents more than 33,000 firms, including 7,500 of America's leading general contractors, and more than 12,500 specialty-contracting firms. For more information visit the AGC website at www.agc.org.