Highway Operations Spending as a Catalyst for Job Growth (Page 1 of 5)
July 18, 2003
Federal Highway Administration
Department of Transportation
MacroSys Research and Technology
The creation of jobs is a major benefit of highway infrastructure spending. Many models have been developed to estimate the number of jobs created by spending on highway construction projects. In contrast, spending on highway operations receives far less attention, even though operations and maintenance have become relatively more important than construction since the Interstate system was (largely) completed. The number and nature of jobs created by spending on highway operations differs significantly from jobs created by new construction. Each type requires a different skill set and has a unique pay scale. A model that projects the level of employment generated by highway operations funding is needed. This new model will provide policymakers with employment forecasts specific to highway operations projects, as distinct from construction projects.
The research presented in this report provides such a model, based on the Transportation Satellite Accounts. Many sources of data were analyzed to develop the spending levels, employment structure, and average employee compensation for major categories of highway operations activities. The model's employment estimate includes direct hires in highway operations and indirect employment through purchases of commodities and services supporting highway operations.
In 2000, highway operations spending accounted for more than 15 percent of total expenditures on state-administered highways, generating a total of 184,854 full-time job equivalents. This equaled 17,810 jobs per billion dollars spent, on average. Traffic supervision, toll collection, and snow and ice removal were the three largest job-creating activities associated with highway operations. Together, they accounted for about 65 percent of all jobs created by highway operations spending.
|Highway Construction (FHWA)
|Highway Construction (BLS)
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. JOBMOD is a software program that estimates the economic impact of highway construction.