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News About the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Associated Press - Jobless Rate Dips to 9.4%; Layoffs Drop
Employers throttled back on layoffs in July, cutting just 247,000 jobs, the fewest in a year, and the unemployment rate dipped to 9.4 percent. It was a better than expected showing that offered a strong signal that the recession is finally ending.

The new snapshot, released by the Labor Department on Friday, also offered other encouraging news: workers' hours nudged up after sinking to a record low in June, and paychecks grew after having fallen or flat lined in some cases.

… the new figures were better than many analysts were expecting and offered welcomed improvements to a part of the economy that has been clobbered by the recession.

Analysts were forecasting job losses to slow to around 320,000 and the unemployment rate to tick up to 9.6 percent.

The dip in the unemployment rate -- from June's 9.5 percent -- was the first since April 2008… [Read More]

New York Times - Economists See a Limited Boost From Stimulus

A report card on the stimulus plan offered by analysts nearly six months after it was passed by Congress suggests that the punch from increased government spending has helped the economy begin to bottom out faster than it would have otherwise…

… Private analysts say they think it added at least 1 percentage point to economic growth in the second quarter… 

“The signs of the stimulus are there,” said Allen L. Sinai, chief economist at Decision Economics, a forecasting firm in New York. “Government -- federal, state and local -- is helping take the economy from recession to recovery. I think it's the primary contributor…”

Administration officials and private analysts predicted that the stimulus program's impact on the economy would increase in the months ahead, in part because the job-creating infrastructure projects would account for a bigger share of the outlays…

All told, some forecasters predict that the stimulus program could lift economic growth by as much as three percentage points in the months ahead, allowing the economy to expand at an annualized pace of almost 3 percent by the last quarter of this year… [Read More]

Bemidji Pioneer (Minnesota) - Oberstar tours Bemidji stimulus sites
“This is Recovery City,” U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, DFL-8th District, called Bemidji after a tour Thursday of millions of dollars in federal stimulus projects.

… the $2.6 million 1.5-mile project will take $1.6 million in federal economic stimulus funds and $1 million in city funds for waterworks.

The work is providing 60 to 70 full-time jobs, he said, which will last four to five months. Workers are working four 10-hour days.

Minnesota ranks 32nd of 51 states and the District of Columbia in its use of federal stimulus funds for transportation projects, Oberstar said. It has 57 percent of the funds obligated and $120 million under construction. The work has provided 2,130 jobs and is expected to add 12,500 jobs when fully geared up and $502 million in federal stimulus monies spent. [Read More]

Observer & Eccentric (Michigan) - Livonia's future: battery technology

Gov. Jennifer Granholm visited A123 Systems in Livonia Thursday to highlight that company's $249.1 million grant from the Department of Energy at the site of what will be the company's new regional headquarters and production facility.

… Grant funding comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's electric drive vehicle battery and component manufacturing initiative.

The grant will help A123 develop a strategy for constructing lithium ion battery manufacturing facilities in the United States with the first construction location in Livonia.

… Statewide the grant's projects are estimated to create 6,800 jobs in the next 18 months and up to 40,000 jobs by 2020. A123 is expected to create 300 new jobs by 2011 in Livonia and another 500 more at a later date. [Read More]

Reuters - Congress to Florida: Speed up stimulus spending
Florida ranks last among all states in spending its share of highway money from the U.S. economic stimulus plan, a congressional committee said on Thursday.

In a letter to Florida Governor Charlie Crist, the committee's chairman, Rep. James Oberstar, wrote that as of June 30, Florida had begun construction on highway projects totaling only 2 percent of the $1.346 billion set aside for it in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

'I strongly urge you to refocus your efforts to implement the Recovery Act and use the available funds to create and sustain family-wage jobs,' said Oberstar, who heads the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. [Read More]

Ventura County Star (California) - Capps touts use of stimulus funds for Naval Base
Praising the creation of green jobs, Rep. Lois Capps stood Wednesday with Capt. James McHugh, commander of Naval Base Ventura County, outside a building newly retrofitted with solar cells to tout the more than $10 million in federal stimulus money flowing to the base for alternative energy and efficiency projects.

On top of providing jobs for subcontractors, the projects will help the base meet its goal of reducing energy consumption by 30 percent over the next five years. Capps, D-Santa Barbara, said Ventura County's share of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is helping to stimulate the local economy. [Read More]

Boston Business Journal (Massachusetts) - Mass. fire departments given $20M in aid

Fire departments throughout Massachusetts are getting $20 million in federal stimulus funding to help stem budget shortfalls and rehire firefighters.

About 112 firefighters have been laid off in 12 towns across the state and another 118 police officers have been laid off in 11 communities, according to the state. [Read More]

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