When the Obama administration takes office in January, it has promised to hit the ground running with a job stimulus plan that will start moving the economy forward. It’s a good idea, and certainly not without precedent, since many believe the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the 1930’s was instrumental in keeping many in valuable jobs creating some of our nation’s finest public works and monuments. This program employed 8 million workers from 1935 to 1943, and anyone was eligible to take the WPA jobs. The hourly pay was at local labor rates.
While most of the talk about the job stimulus plan centers around building a greener energy infrastructure and fixing crumbling bridges and highways, who is likely to benefit? The new administration wants to create 3 million jobs, but those workers are going to be mainly in the engineering, construction, energy, and financial sectors. Even though that leaves out the important sectors of retail, and services, workers all across the board stand to benefit from the job stimulus plan, no matter how it takes shape.
The jobs in the sectors that the Obama administration wants to create have high multipliers. That’s a term that means for every job created for engineers, two or three jobs might be created in a related or unrelated field. A real life example is to look at home building. When home building was at its peak, the construction workers were by and large making good incomes, which allowed them to buy things. The demand for products was high, so manufacturers added workers. Those products had to be sold in retail stores, so stores were able to add staff.
When the construction industry stopped building as many homes due to the credit crisis, the construction workers were laid off, and they stopped buying. Manufacturers stopped making things to sell, so retailers had to lay off workers. And that’s what the Obama administration wants to reverse. They want to create a job stimulus plan that will have a positive ripple effect throughout the entire economy.
Their plan is not clear yet, but historically, jobs that are in the sectors that they are targeting almost always create new jobs. Employment in these sectors usually pays quite well for almost everyone involved. As these individuals find new jobs, they will start spending their money on things, which will set the recovery in motion. And it’s not just spending for their homes and families. It’s the spending that will be required to fix those bridges and highways, and build those solar panels and wind turbines.
As the effect of the job stimulus plan begins to be felt at local levels, the increased revenues will eventually trickle across the entire economy, and gradually, the country will come out of this deep recession, which is the greatest benefit of the using federal dollars to stimulate the economy. It’s been done before, and history has proven that it works, so let’s hope that the job stimulus plan happens quickly, and some of that money can be put to work creating more opportunities, better roads, and cleaner energy.
For more information on the job stimulus plan, visit http://jobstimulusplan.com.