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Why Tracking the Highway Stimulus Jobs Is No Easy Job

I've been tracking several New Hampshire road and bridge projects as part of our Stimulus Spot Check. What my colleague Christopher Flavelle and I found is that it's nearly impossible to count up hard-hats on a project-by-project basis. The better approach is to find out the number of hours worked on each project. This metric may not ultimately tell us how many jobs were created or saved by the stimulus, but it can provide us with what the Office of Management and Budget defines as the "full-time equivalent."

Here's an excerpt from th latest piece, "Tracking the Highway Stimulus Jobs Is No Easy Job":

A case in point is a New Hampshire contractor called Pike Industries. Of the 915 employees listed in NHDOT’s June report, 620 are identified as Pike employees. But Pike president Christian Zimmerman said the company employs only 450 people in New Hampshire. However, because Pike needs to report the number of employees who work on each ARRA site every month, the company employee count — like NHDOT’s count itself — can include the same worker multiple times. In fact, Zimmerman estimates that only 225 of his employees are working on a stimulus project at any given time — one third the number that appears in the NHDOT report.

If you're curious about what's happening in other states, join our Stimulus Spot Check.

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