Recovery Act has created and saved 2.5-3.6 million jobs, many in clean energy

On Wednesday, July 14th, Vice President Joe Biden and Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) Chair Christina Romer released CEA’s new fourth quarterly report on the economic and job creation impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  The report finds that the loan guarantees, grants, and clean energy investments made under the Recovery Act — matched by billions of dollars in private investment – are successfully creating jobs today and growing clean energy industries of tomorrow.  CAP’s Susan Lyon has the story.

Vice President Joe Biden credited the Recovery Act for stimulating jobs and economic growth far beyond what it would have been otherwise:

We knew if we didn’t act and we didn’t act boldly, the best estimates were telling us that we would lose another 4 to 5 million jobs immediate — in that year.  Well, we did act, and I stand before you today to say to you that”¦the economic initiatives we took, they are working.

The report, which uses two economic models to assess the overall economic impact and job growth from ARRA, finds first that the actual outlay of recovery funds increased by about 50 percent between the first and second quarters of 2010.  This stimulus led to both GDP and job growth benefits.  As of the second quarter of 2010, CEA estimates that in total ARRA has saved and created between 2.5 and 3.6 million jobs.  CEA also finds that ARRA has

Raised the level of GDP as of the second quarter of 2010, relative to what it otherwise would have been, by between 2.7 and 3.2 percent.

Clean energy investments are an important element of ARRA,  and provide over $90 billion in “government investment and tax incentives to lay the foundation for the clean energy economy of the future,” much of which is in these key areas:

$29 billion for Energy Efficiency, including $5 billion to pay for energy efficiency retrofits in low-income homes;

$21 billion for Renewable Generation, such as the installation of wind turbines and solar panels;

$10 billion for Grid Modernization to develop the so-called “smart grid” that will involve sophisticated electric meters, high-tech electricity distribution and transmission grid censors, and energy storage;

$6 billion to support domestic manufacturing of advanced batteries and other components of Advanced Vehicles and Fuels Technologies;

$18 billion for Traditional Transit and High-Speed Rail;

$3 billion to fund crucial research, development, and demonstration of Carbon Capture and Sequestration technologies;

$3 billion for Green Innovation and Job Training to invest in the science, technology, and workforce needed for a clean energy economy;

about $2 billion in Clean Energy Equipment Manufacturing tax credits.

CEA estimates that 827,000 public investment jobs in the above categories will have been created from these areas by 2012; this is a conservative figure as it does not include related clean energy jobs in human capital, environmental cleanup and preservation, or clean energy transportation and efficient building infrastructure.  The actual number of direct and indirect clean energy jobs will be much higher (see Table 12 of the report).

This chart shows the estimated jobs creation impact of ARRA relative to the “no-stimulus baseline:”

Estimates of Jobs Saved or Created by the ARRA of 2009 at Different Times (Table 1)
As of the 4th Quarter of Estimated Jobs
2009 1.5 million
2010 3.5 million
2011 1.7 million
2012 0.3 million

Though ARRA is succeeding in job preservation, job creation, and leveraging of private capital, ARRA was a two year federal commitment with funds that will run out by 2012.  As CAP has previously noted, ARRA made important strategic investments in clean energy, but this funding will soon expire, just as it is poised for major impact.  If experts are indeed right that we may be at risk of an extended jobless recovery, key pieces of ARRAmust be extended to provide new industries the certainty they need to revitalize our economy and climb out of the current recession.

Only comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation can help overcome this ARRA “funding cliff.” It must do this by putting a price on carbon to level the cost between old, cheaper, dirty energy and newer, cleaner more expensive technologies. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is capturing the energy opportunity as intended, setting the foundation for our clean energy revolution – but we still have a long way to go.

ARRA launched critical steps to create jobs and reduce dangerous global warming pollution.  Now, Congress must act to craft a better energy bill using the most effective clean energy proposals introduced in the Senate.

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7 Responses to Recovery Act has created and saved 2.5-3.6 million jobs, many in clean energy

  1. Larry Chamblkn says:

    I am very happy to learn that, though stimulus spending, we are creating jobs and promoting our green economy. I assume that jobs–especially when they are in an industry that will over time reduce our energy costs–benefits the economy as a whole–GDP, tax revenues, etc. If that is true, why does the mainstream media focus almost exclusively on the costs and the growing deficit and not on the benefits of this stimulus spending? It seems that the media, and the public, has little patience for a more complex story line. You CAP and others need to do more to get the full story out!

  2. I have wonderful news for the global warming “skeptics”. I know that you feel so lonely in your opposition to the great scientific conspiracy. You need not feel a like a lonely oppressed minority any longer. There is another group who suffer the same indignities as you.

    You’ve got to read the following:

    A Brief History of Intolerance in Modern Cosmology
    by Dr. Jerry Bergman

    There are so many delicious statements which happen to coincide with the standard global warming skeptic’s whine that everyone should read the entire thing. I have a feeling that the creationists and global warming deniers are utilizing the same playbook.

    If you want to see an example of the oppressed creationist cosmology in action you’ve got to read the following:

    How can distant starlight reach us in just 6,000 years?
    by Mark Harwood

    Which presents the scientific theory that SN1987A occurred on Day 4 of creation. Of special note is how the author speaks about the mainstream scientific consensus:

    “Other big bangers have tried to cure this headache by proposing that the speed of light was much faster in the past, e.g. João Magueijo and John Barrow. Yet when some creationists proposed something similar a few decades ago, it was a heresy! I.e. anything goes when it comes to rescuing the big bang dogma, but rescuing Genesis by exactly the same means is verboten. ”

    Note the derisive term “big bangers” which coincides with “warmers” being used by global warming denialists to mock science. Those creationists in their crusade against science behave in the same way as the global warming skeptics.

    I doubt that this is mere coincidence since both groups have precisely the same audience.

  3. Uosdwis says:

    It might help if they put out one number that they can quantitatively put out as “created,” another as saved, and another as debatable. This range thing opens them up to criticism- well, EVERYTHING will be criticized.

  4. Richard Miller says:


    CP is mentioned in the column of Nicholas Kristof of the NYtimes today. Also, I posted on the comments section trying to help inform people about the climate catastrophe so if CP readers go and recommend my two posts that will help push my posts up the reader’s recommendation list so that they get a wider hearing. Here is the link to column:

    and the comments section is at:

    Richard Miller

  5. The Recovery Act has been a real shot in the arm for the electric sector and the advanced biofuels and battery sector. But the Kerry-Lieberman Climate Bill will merely drive the electric utility sector away from coal to natural gas; the short-term result will be to drive investment to make electricity in large, inefficient central power plants powered by natural gas. Renewables will be left out of the mix.

    It is now time to give the cleanest, most scalable, most available, most affordable low carbon motor fuel a jump-start similar to that given advanced batteries and biofuels — that motor fuel is natural gas. It is time for the automotive industry to start mass production of dedicated and bi-fuel natural gas vehicles, in all types and sizes, for use both by fleets and consumers. Given a supply of affordable natural gas vehicles American can and will choose to reduce their oil consumption immediately; I believe a goal of reducing consumption by 10% by 2015 can be easily achieved simply by enacting the Natural Gas Act for America.

    This simple legislation gives the domestic natural gas industry the incentives the industry badly needs — eliminating the barriers to development of commercially viable pathways for the most efficient, most sustainable direct uses possible for natural gas motor fuels — replacement of liquid petroleum-based motor fuels. And this will create even more opportunities for rapid deployment of the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle when auto makers are ready to bring this technology to market in 5 or so years.

  6. Rueben Salerno says:

    This green jobs issue is hyped to the max.

  7. This is great! Let’s hope that the 5.5 million jobs in 2010, 2011, and 2012 become reality!