Where will the stimulus jobs be?

Now that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has been law for a few months, it’s a good time to see what effect it may be having in New Hampshire.

Even though our seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 6.5 percent, compared to 9.4 percent nationally, New Hampshire — like most every other state — needs the help. We haven’t seen unemployment like this since the early 1990s.

So, if you are a New Hampshire resident who is either unemployed or considering taking your transferable skills to a more fulfilling situation than you’re in now, a pertinent question may be, are there jobs out there yet as a result of the stimulus money?

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of new hiring yet due to the ARRA. In fact, Bud Fitch, head of the state’s Office of Economic Stimulus, feels that most of the stimulus money will be spent next year. For certain projects and positions in transportation and education — particularly those that have already been planned for or have been under way — then the reallocation of production revenue from the ARRA to those projects is keeping many people employed. But they had jobs already. For the vast majority of stimulus categories we are in one of two places:

1. The federal guidelines stipulating the expenditure of ARRA funds have yet to be made public.

2. Grants are being or have been written by those state government agencies and organizations who now know the federal guidelines and they are in the process of bidding for the dollars or awaiting awards.

In either case, the bulk of new hiring to come out of the ARRA is still somewhere down the road. Washington wants this money injected into the economy as soon as possible, but in order to keep some compliance control over the quality of the expenditures there is bound to be some red tape involved — and there is.

Here are the categories identified for receiving ARRA funds:

• Business/community: Community development and services, the Small Business Administration and the Rural Business Program.

• Education: Including a lot of education for the disadvantaged, early childhood, with some arts funding and technical training thrown in.

• Employment/nutrition: This is a catch-all for job training, hot lunch programs, activities for youth, assistance for needy families among others.

• Environment and energy: Everything from weatherization projects, polluted site clean-up, energy efficiency, clean water and more.

• Health: Community health centers, health insurance for children (SCHIP), health information and Medicaid assistance.

• Housing facilities: Public housing programming, National Guard, rural housing and even firefighting assistance falls under this category.

• Public safety: The attorney general’s office is getting into the act with violence against women prevention, victimization compensation and fighting Internet crime against children included.

• Technology: Basically this is extending broadband to rural areas that don’t have adequate coverage.

• Transportation: This looks like the big shovel-ready kahuna, resulting in roads, airports — in short, construction jobs. Most expenditures in the short term will be here. Pike Industries, Continental Paving and Cairns & Sons Inc. are companies to track for future hiring.

Today’s job-seekers should be tracking the allocation progress of this money and the jobs being created from it. A great resource is the state’s Office of Economic Stimulus, (nh.gov/recovery). Also, use the time to work on job-search basics: have a really well-constructed resume (most aren’t), know your professional brand and be able to articulate it to a total stranger in no more than two minutes, practice your interview skills — and network, network, network.

I suppose if you’re far to the political right you see this money as tainted. But for the rest of us, this is real money designed to lift us out of recession, while also improving valuable infrastructures. If you’re fine with that, stay tuned.

Bill Ryan, owner and operator of Ryan Career Services LLC in Concord, can be reached at 603-724-2289 or bill@ryancareerservices.com.