Stimulus and Climate Bills Will Have Positive Impact on Jobs

Reports issued today assess the probable effects on employment of the U.S. economic stimulus bill adopted earlier this year and the climate bill that the House is expected to vote on soon. One, "The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy,” was done in partnership with the Center for American Progress; the other, "Green Prosperity," with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Green for All. University of Massachusetts economist Robert Pollin was principal investigator in both reports.

The basic findings of the two reports are that investment in clean energy will add a net 1.7 million jobs to the U.S. economy, that there will be large opportunities for low-income and less-educated people to get onto career ladders with training and better pay, and that the cost of living will be reduced for such people. The number of new jobs generated by the two bills (mainly as a result of private investment)  will be three times what we would get from the same investment in traditional fossil energy, said Bracken Hendricks of the Center for American Progress, in a press briefing today. Instead of investment funds going largely to support fossil development projects overseas, they would go to support job creation in the United States itself.

Regarding methodology, Pollin said in a press briefing today that his team relied heavily on Commerce Department industrial surveys and detailed Bureau of Labor Statistics labor market surveys, as well as government data on housing and transportation costs. For reasons explained in the reports, their estimates of job creation did not include manufacturers of energy-efficient appliances or the auto industry, said Pollin. The reports heavily emphasize energy-improving retrofits in buildings though, Pollin conceded, racially discrimination in construction hiring will remain a problem that needs to be addressed.

 

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