Less than 1,000 Colorado jobs credited to stimulus so far | SkyHiNews.com

Less than 1,000 Colorado jobs credited to stimulus so far

DENVER (AP) – Fewer than 1,000 Colorado jobs have been created through the stimulus funding that the federal government estimates will ultimately create or save 59,000 state jobs by the end of 2010, state officials say.

State officials told The Denver Post Sunday that it has been challenging to identify and track the exact number of jobs created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the different contractors and subcontractors who have received money at various departments. It’s also been difficult to determine how many jobs have been saved, officials say.

“It’s frustrating, but we’re working on it,” said Mark Cavanaugh, director of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter’s economic recovery team. “Departments and agencies aren’t accustomed to keeping track of job creation.”

The Denver Post reports that most of the jobs created in Colorado through the stimulus so far are 2,946 temporary summer jobs for youths, the equivalent of less than 500 full-time jobs.

More than 600 people are working on road and bridge projects with the Colorado Department of Transportation, but the hours that they have worked through June equal 77 full-time positions. Another few hundred people have been employed to review food-stamp applications, renovate school buildings, or work on projects for federal agencies in the state. Some 105 people have been working at Denver International Airport improving runways and drainage.

Ritter’s economic recovery team says about $1 billion in stimulus money has been spent in Colorado so far and another $3.5 billion is expected. Much of the money has not yet gone to job creation, but instead to unemployment benefits, Social Security, and to strengthen Medicaid.

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About $197 million went to Medicaid, $190 million for unemployment benefits, and $125 to Social Security recipients. Another $10.6 million went to child-care development.

State officials expect more jobs to come to the state in the next few months, including 600 workers for more than two dozen drinking water and wastewater projects worth $65 million. Those jobs are expected to begin before the end of September. Upcoming infrastructure projects on state roads and bridges and airport and transit system could also employ thousands.

Ritter’s Energy Office is also expected to begin its clean-energy, energy-efficiency and home-weatherization programs this fall. The projects will cost $138 million.

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