A Treehugger.com article says the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), otherwise known as the stimulus, has “done a number of good things, like preventing all-out depression and pushing clean energy development.” A report from the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) said the stimulus created or saved 2.5 to 3.6 million jobs, almost one million in a field related to clean energy. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released in May showed that the stimulus increased the number of workers by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million. The report projected that 3.7 million jobs could be attributed to the stimulus by the end of September.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) breaks down the clean energy investments in the stimulus as follows:
- Energy efficiency—$29 billion
- Renewable energy generation—$21 billion
- Grid modernization—$10 billion
- Advanced vehicles and fuels technologies—$6 billion
- Traditional transit and high-speed rail—$18 billion
- Carbon capture and sequestration technologies—$3 billion
- Green innovation and job training—$3 billion
- Clean Energy Equipment Manufacturing tax credits—about $2 billion
The CEA estimates that 827,000 public investment jobs will have been created by 2012 in the above categories.
As of the end of last month, over 60 percent of the $787 billion in stimulus funds “has been outlayed or has gone to American households and businesses in the form of tax reductions.” During the third quarter of 2009, according to the CEA report, real GDP began to steadily grow, and private payroll employment increased by almost 600,000 since December 2009, when it dipped to its lowest point. The stimulus increased the GDP by the second quarter of 2010 from 2.7 in the first quarter to 3.2 percent. The public investment spending of the stimulus saved or created over 800,000 as of the second quarter of 2010, a 30 percent increase over the first quarter. Employment growth averaged 63,000 per month in 2010 in the first quarter and 123,000 in the second quarter.
Roughly $100 billion of stimulus funds have leverage provisions which support over $380 billion of total investment spending. The CEA report says, “This implies that every $1 of Recovery Act funds invested in these programs is partnered with about $3 of outside investment spending.” The majority of leveraged funds come from the private sector.
The report acknowledges that although the economy is “obviously still far from healthy” the unemployment rate continues to remain at 9.5 percent. “The change in the economy over the last 18 months has been dramatic.”