by Dylan Rivera, The Oregonian

Tuesday April 07, 2009, 12:45 PM

The federal government could boost the economy and generate more than 1 million new jobs by spending $100 billion on transportation infrastructure and environmentally friendly projects.

That’s the chief conclusion of two reports out today by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal Washington D.C.-based think tank.

Each $100 billion invested in transportation infrastructure and in green jobs would expand the economy’s annual output by about $160 billion and generate approximately 1.1 million jobs, the reports say.

In “Green Investments and the Labor Market,” EPI economists say that each dollar of infrastructure investment broadly defined provides about $1.59 in additional economic growth, making it about 33% more effective than tax cuts for individuals and businesses.

Spending on energy efficiency could provide an even bigger boost for jobs, the report says.

“Much of the construction spending undertaken in the name of energy conservation would be mostly directed toward retrofitting existing structures rather than building new ones from scratch,” the report says. “This sort of “fix-it-first” construction typically is more labor-intensive than average and hence would make better economic stimulus.”

The transportation job-creation study is titled “Transportation Investments and the Labor Market.”

Both transportation and green investments disproportionately create jobs for workers without a 4-year degree, and benefit sectors covered by unionized work.

However, spending on green jobs would not benefit everyone equally across the labor market, the report says. Only 26 percent of the direct and indirect jobs created would go to women.

Since more than half of individuals in poverty are in households without adult males, the green jobs report says, “this would not be, by itself, an effective anti-poverty tool unless coupled with other policies so that it provides ample job opportunities to women.”

– Dylan Rivera;