Stimulus-created jobs reach 700 in N.H.

As most people who were trying to get anywhere in New Hampshire by car would attest, the pace of stimulus spending on transportation projects picked up considerably in August.

The equivalent of some 282 full-time jobs were created (or layoffs avoided) during August — more than 100 more than in July.

That brings the total to some 700 full-time equivalent jobs created though federal stimulus money from April to August. The state Department of Transportation spent $112 million during that period, with no major projects in August, so the number of jobs is starting to catch up with the number of contracts awarded.

Indeed, other parts of the economy also is catching up to the early burst of shovel-ready contracts awarded by DOT in early summer. Roadwork used to account for more than half the stimulus spending. Now it accounts for less than a third of the $367 million in stimulus money approved by the Executive Council as of Sept. 9. However, the other entities receiving funds still lag behind the DOT in reporting the number of jobs created.

The state’s last job report was Aug. 19. Most other departments and localities have yet to report their job creation total, and won’t be required to do so until October. Thus far, most DOT jobs created were in the private sector, while others are primarily in the public sector.

According to the DOT’ latest figures, those working on transportation projects put in a total of 48,107 hours in August, which translates into a full-time equivalent of 286 workers working a 40-hour week during the month. That’s a 56 percent increase from July. It’s also considerably higher than June, when there were 160 full-time equivalent workers, and far better than in April and May, when there were a total of 74.

According to the figures, the total payroll for the first four months was $2.6 million. That translates into an average wage to date of $19.54 per hour. The hourly rate in August declined $2 from the previous month, the first time it dipped below $20 an hour. But that pay rate might reflect the hiring of more physical laborers, with less money going to engineers and supervisors. — BOB SANDERS

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