Stimulus Shows Green Funding Yields More Jobs Per Public Dollar

Stimulus Shows Green Funding Yields More Jobs Per Public Dollar

I have been tracking the green stimulus spending since June 2009.

In November 2009, actual dollars spent on green projects was $1.5 billion.

Now, in November 2010, dollars actually paid to date on green projects is approximately $11 billion. It amounts to approximately 7% of contract spending from the Stimulus bill (which does not include tax benefits), and 2.6% of the total stimulus money paid to date. 

By agency, the spending on green breaks out as follows:

I used the same methodology as described in detail here. If you are a data geek like me, you can do your own number crunching at Recovery.gov and the agency recovery sites who do weekly reporting in Excel on the allocation and spending of the stimulus money.  There is a wealth of information available, and I welcome any input or different statistical or mathematical analyses from the Green Building Law Community.

At the initiation of the stimulus, Obama touted the green components of the stimulus bill.  He has also been very positive on the prospect of green jobs. Opponents of the stimulus bill, and waning support of green initiatives and green jobs in general, has been on the rise.

So the question becomes: what is the value of the 3% of the stimulus that went to green iniatives, and was the return on investment higher or lower than the other initiatives that were funded by the stimulus.  The answer is yes. 

Agencies tasked with green funding (DOE, EPA, GSA) hold 3 of the top 10 most efficient job creating agencies that were allocated stimulus funding:

By contrast, the two departments which spent the most money, the Department of the Treasury (tax cuts) and the Social Security Administration only created 188 direct jobs.

It will be argued that the tax cuts, etc. indirectly created jobs by pumping more money into the economy.  But there is a direct way to measure the impact of a single green dollar.  To address this, I looked at the statistics for the GSA.  Unlike other agencies which allocate money through states to programs or disperse it to individual taxpayers, the GSA contracts directly with builders and other direct contract fund recipients to build or renovate federal buildings.

As of September 30, 2010, the GSA had saved or created 5773.82 jobs (how you have .82 of a job I can't say). The stat is here. The GSA was 16th in the agencies recieving funding, and the12th net job creating agency. But on a job per dollar basis, the GSA the 6th most efficient job creating agency at $258,613.16 per job created.   

Do not fall into this statistical trap "$258k per job? We could have created five $50k jobs for that money!"  Remember, this dollars per job includes materials and costs of the jobs involved (bricks, mortar, etc.), which also have downstream job creating effects (brick makers, concrete haulers, etc.).

This post originally appeared on the Green Building Law Blog and is reprinted with permission.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user Allan Henderson.