The grand total of Florida workers who were helped directly or indirectly by jobs saved or created since the start of the stimulus bill more than a year ago amounts to 153,000. That’s the estimate from the Federal Council of Economic Advisers.
Jobs “saved” means layoffs that were prevented as a result of the bill, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
A year ago, Florida expected to receive about $12.5 billion from the stimulus bill. Now the estimate is up to $19.5 billion.
Much of the difference comes from $1.25 billion of high-speed rail money awarded in January to develop train service linking Tampa and Orlando and eventually South Florida.
Florida’s total includes extra unemployment benefits and other aid sent to individual residents.
“We expected it to have a significant impact (on Florida’s economy), and it has,” said Don Winstead, special adviser to Governor Charlie Crist. “As we’ve seen additional awards, that impact has grown.”
All this spending has not reversed the state’s rising unemployment rate, which reached a record 12.3 percent in March. Stimulus proponents say it would be worse if not for the burst of federal spending.
Much of Florida’s share has gone to schools, which contained the number of layoffs of teachers and other personnel.
“Schools are struggling as is, but take this money out and the struggle would have been extremely more difficult,” Winstead said.
Nationwide, the stimulus bill has saved or created jobs affecting an estimated 2.8 million workers. Read more here.