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Illinois Construction Jobs Created by Lab Funding

Posted on March 23, 2009

A new batch of funding could help create more Illinois construction jobs and other full-time positions.

The Recovery and Reinvestment Act set aside $1.2 billion in funding for energy projects. Of that money, $48 million will go to two lab projects in Illinois. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory will receive the funding, according to an article by The Associated Press

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is expected to receive $34.9 million – $25 million for infrastructure projects and $9.9 million for a neutrino detector. Argonne National Laboratory will receive $13.1 million to upgrade and replace major electrical switches and equipment.

The State of Illinois could certainly use the added jobs the funding is expected to create. The state’s construction industry employed 235,500 workers during January, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is down from 236,400 workers during December 2008 and an 11.5 percent decrease from last year.

Overall, Illinois had a total non-farm employment of 5,820,200 workers during January, down from 5,849,500 workers during December 2008 and a 2.9 percent decrease from last year. Also during January, the state’s unemployment rate increased from 7.2 percent to 7.9 percent.

The stimulus bill could mean about 200,000 jobs in Illinois would be created or saved during the next two years. The stimulus also will benefit the unemployed, as it increases the length and size of unemployment payments.

The stimulus should give Illinois at least $2.5 billion for Medicare and $1 billion for schools. Illinois also will get to compete for funding for other projects, such as expansion of Internet broadband, but broadband expansion and other programs will require matching funds from state government.

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