8700 JOBS TO BE CREATED IN SWFLA (maybe)
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Stimulus package makes broad estimates of job creation/keeping, mostly in construction, hospitality.
According to a White House estimate, 8,700 jobs will be saved or created in Southwest Florida’s congressional district during the next two years because of the stimulus bill. Compare the estimate to the 29,597 jobs the U.S. Department of Labor reports were lost in the region during a three-year period ending in December 2008, and the difference is 20,807 jobs.
The estimate puts Florida’s 14th Congressional District, served by U.S. Rep Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, in ninth place in terms of jobs created or saved among other congressional districts in the state.
When asked for comment on the figures, Mack spokeswoman Stephanie DuBois provided a statement concerning the $787 billion bill, which President Barack Obama says is intended to create short-run jobs and long-run economic growth through tax cuts and investments in education, infrastructure and new energy.
“Unfortunately, the so-called ‘stimulus’ plan is little more than a massive spending plan filled with earmarks and liberal social planning-programs,” Mack said. “Only a limited percentage of this spending will create fewer jobs over the next year as compared to other options that Congress could have, and should have, pursued. Tax cuts, coupled with true pro-growth policies, would have been more likely to succeed and more likely to spark economic growth.”
Nationally, the White House estimate predicts the bill will save or create 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, among them 206,000 jobs in Florida.
The Congressional district expected to receive the largest number of jobs from the stimulus bill is Florida’s 5th, which is located west of Orlando. That district is expected to maintain or receive 9,600 jobs due to the bill, 900 more jobs than the Southwest Florida district.
Not all of Collier and Lee County are contained in the 14th district. Areas west of Naples and south of Marco Island, including Everglades City, are contained in Florida’s 25th district, which also contains the rural areas of Monroe and Miami-Dade counties. The 25th district ranks second in terms of estimated stimulus jobs, at 9,600 jobs.
It was not immediately known Tuesday why there was a difference in estimated jobs saved or created between the districts, which are designed to be equal in terms of population.
It was also not immediately known in what industry the Southwest Florida jobs would be saved or created in, although the White House has estimated that nationwide about 60 percent of the jobs will go to the construction (18.5 percent), retail (16.4 percent), leisure and hospitality (13.58 percent), and manufacturing (11.1 percent) industries.
With so many unknowns, it was difficult for Curt Bradbury, the business development manager of the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, to do any celebrating.
Bradbury said the job estimate seemed like a reasonable number given the spending, but hesitated to comment further until he could spend more time on http://recovery.gov , the federal Web site where citizens can track every dollar spent through the bill.
“It’s definitely going to have an impact in this area, but I can’t verify whether it will be 8,700 jobs saved or created. Some of that may have happened anyway, if the building resumes or our economic conditions improve,” Bradbury said. “I know there was some discussion about some road improvements, and maybe some of these companies won’t have to lay off people if they get contracts, but it takes time to get government contracts.”
Federal agencies are expected to begin awarding grants through the bill as early as Thursday, according to http://recovery.gov . All the money is expected to be spent during the next two years.