Monday, January 11, 2010

Study shows that highway stimulus funding does not reduce unemployment

Federal highway stimulus funding has been very, very good to Wyoming --

Nice map, courtesy of the WYDOT web site. Fetching color scheme.

Face it -- everyone likes good roads and bridges that don't fall down. So the Obama administration's highway stimulus funding efforts have been wildly popular among politicians, construction workers and -- once the construction is completed -- motorists.

But a new study shows that it hasn't made a dent in unemployment. The Seattle Times wrote about it today:
Researchers from five universities compared unemployment stats in 700 U.S. counties that received these funds with 700 counties that did not.

No difference in the numbers.

What about Wyoming?

Between November 2008 and November 2009, Wyoming's unemployment rate rose from 3.1 to 7.2 percent, an increased of 4.1 percent. That's according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of that increase probably was in the oil and gas fields. But who knows? I'll keep looking for more stats.

The latest highway stimulus bill has already passed the House and will come up in the Senate later in January. I'm all for stimulus, but researchers say we need bigger and more expensive projects to move the employment numbers. High speed rail, for instance.

More later...

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