Recovery Act’s Green Investments Create or Save Nearly One Million Jobs

The Recovery Act's green investments committed through the end of 2010 create or save nearly 1 million jobs, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute and the BlueGreen Alliance.

February 17, 2011

On Two-Year Anniversary of Recovery Act, BlueGreen Alliance and Economic Policy Institute Report Demonstrates Job-Creating Success of Green Investments

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 17, 2011) – The Recovery Act’s green investments committed through the end of 2010 create or save nearly 1 million jobs, according to a new report released today by the Economic Policy Institute and the BlueGreen Alliance. On the two-year anniversary of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and as President Obama and Congress begin the budget debate, this report provides evidence that the Recovery Act succeeded in responding to the nation’s economic crisis and that green investments create jobs while laying a foundation for the development of a 21st century green economy in the United States. Read the report.

The BlueGreen Alliance and Economic Policy Institute held a press call discuss the report.

“This report shows us a breakthrough opportunity to create and support jobs in new and existing green business sectors,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Green investments are among the best and fastest way to solve our nation’s unemployment crisis. If we radically reduce the budget deficit without making green investments proven to create jobs, we will be squandering one of our best strategies for getting Americans back to work and keeping America competitive in the global economy.”

The new report, Rebuilding Green: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Green Economy, finds that the $93-billion green investment injected into the economy through the end of 2010 creates or saves nearly 1 million American jobs, increases U.S. GDP by $146 billion, and provides jobs for some of the country’s most vulnerable workers, including middle-wage earners and those with less than a four-year college degree.

This report also examines the overall effectiveness of ARRA in stemming the economic crisis, and presents evidence that, by the middle of 2010, ARRA created or saved up to 3.4 million jobs, boosted GDP by up to $520 billion, and reduced the unemployment rate up to 1.8 percentage points.

“Not only was the Recovery Act successful in responding to the economic crisis – creating and saving millions of jobs and boosting GDP – the unprecedented green investments included in the legislation were responsible for a significant amount of that success,” said John Irons, Research and Policy Director at the Economic Policy Institute. “Two years after the Recovery Act was enacted, this report demonstrates a path forward for economic growth and employment in the green sector.”

Rebuilding Green illustrates how green investments translated into economic activity through direct case studies of these investments and their success in job creation. It also demonstrates how green jobs are central to the overall economy and scalable with the right policies. One example is the Industrial Technologies Program, which used ARRA funds that ArcelorMittal matched dollar-for-dollar with their own money to add an additional boiler to co-generate both steam and electricity to its Indiana Harbor plant. Co-generation at this facility will generate enough energy to power the equivalent of nearly 30,000 American homes for a year, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 333,000 tons annually – the equivalent of taking over 60,000 cars off the road. The project will also support 360 jobs related to the design, construction, and manufacture of the equipment alone, employ 200 local construction workers, and, through the energy cost-savings it yields, support the thousands of workers who rely on the ArcelorMittal plant for jobs

“Green investments like those in the Recovery Act present an enormous opportunity to save and create jobs across America,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers, which represents workers in the Indiana Harbor plant. “The U.S. needs a national jobs strategy that capitalizes on the many job-creating prospects within the green economy. We need to continue these important investments to ensure that we are creating good, middle-class jobs and to help the U.S. lead the global race for the jobs and industries of the future.”

“The United States must solve its economic challenges in a way that not only creates good jobs, but also confronts climate disruption and our energy challenges,” said Carl Pope, Chairman of the Sierra Club. “This report lays out a roadmap for how to move our country forward to create good jobs, healthy families and a clean energy future.”

-30-

About the BlueGreen Alliance
The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together ten major U.S. labor unions and four of America’s most influential environmental organizations and unites more than 14 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy. Visit
www.bluegreenalliance.org.

About the Economic Policy Institute
The Economic Policy Institute is a nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy. Visit www.epi.org.