WASHINGTON , DC — At least 30,383 jobs have been created directly or saved by contractors receiving money from the U.S. government's stimulus program, according to news reports.
The figures released today are the first hard data to emerge that illustrates the effect of the stimulus, and they represent just a fraction of the $787 billion stimulus package. The jobs derive from the roughly $16 billion that federal government agencies awarded directly to contractors for infrastructure and social programs, of which just $2 billion had been spent by the beginning of October.
The jobs tally takes into account almost all the 5,232 federal contract recipient reports that have been filed, according to information summarized by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. "Obviously incorrect submissions" from two contract recipient reports are being addressed, and posted figures will be amended, according to Recovery.gov, the government's website on Recovery Act spending.
Jobs information from businesses and organizations receiving stimulus-funded grants or contracts from states is expected later this month.
According to the Wall Street Journal, federal contractors in Colorado reported that 4,695 jobs were created or saved -- the most of any state -- as a result of $550 million in stimulus awards, of which 48 million had been spent. In Michigan, the state with the highest unemployment, contractors reported 397 jobs were created or saved.
The Obama Administration has a goal of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs. In view of that target, Jared Bernstein, the chief economist for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is in charge of overseeing the stimulus, said in a prepared statement that it is "too soon to draw any global conclusions from this partial and preliminary data," the New York Times noted.
The jobs tally comes just a day after the release of a report by Clean Edge Inc., whose study with online compensation data firm PayScale explores five major trends cleantech job trends -- as well as pay ranges and green job hotspots.
Compensation for cleantech jobs is often competitive and the opportunities are not confined to metro areas, according to the report "Clean Tech Job Trends 2009" (PDF). The report is the first of what is to become an annual study on cleantech jobs, Clean Edge said.
The findings support earlier research about green jobs pay, availability and strategies for job creation. "For clean-tech jobs to matter, they need to pay well and provide job security -- part of long-term and sustainable cleantech careers," the study said.
The report lists a range of median pay for various cleantech jobs, which it described as:
"those that are a direct result of the development, production, and/or deployment of technologies that harness renewable materials and energy sources; reduce the use of natural resources by using them more efficiently and productively; and cut or eliminate pollution and toxic wastes. There's no mistaking the types of jobs we're talking about -- they include solar photovoltaic (PV) system installers, wind-turbine technicians, energy-efficiency software developers, green building designers, and clean-energy marketers. While some of these jobs may seem exotic, they are increasingly becoming the norm."
The median pay listed in the study spans from $36,100 a year ($17.36 an hour) for an insulation worker in green building construction to $106,000 a year for a renewable energy project developer.
In contrast, a study entitled "Yellow Light on Green Jobs" released by a U.S. Senate subcommittee this past spring held that green jobs advocates have exaggerated the promise of such opportunities. The report contends that proposals for green jobs would eliminate millions of traditional positions, wouldn't be as plentiful as forecast and would pay poorly. The report said pay for a recycling processing job could be as low as $8.25 an hour and wages for a job at a renewable energy manufacturing facility could be as little as $11 an hour -- compared to traditional manufacturing jobs paying $18 an hour.
The Clean Edge study points out, however, that the reeling economy has battered industrial America, traditional manufacturing and employment across the board.
"We stand at a unique crossroads," the study says. "The recent global financial crisis has been disastrous for already struggling old-line industries in the U.S. ... As has been quoted often, 'A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.' We believe this crisis can accelerate the transition to a clean-energy economy, with the creation of millions of new jobs in a wide range of cleantech sectors."
The Clean Edge study can be downloaded free at www.cleanedge.com/reports/reports-jobtrends2009.php.
Image CC licensed by the Port of San Diego.