1,545 jobs made or saved under stimulus


POSTED: Saturday, October 31, 2009

Some 1,545 jobs in Hawaii were created or saved through President Barack Obama's stimulus plan, federal officials said.

Hawaii was awarded $820.4 million and has received $150 million in contracts, grants and loans, according to the first quarterly report, issued yesterday.

Nearly 650,000 jobs have been saved or created nationwide under the economic stimulus plan, the government said.

State officials said major awards in Hawaii included $105 million for education under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and $39.9 million in grants for the education of children with disabilities.

The White House declared the nation on track to meet the president's goal of 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.

Hawaii, which has a 7.3 percent unemployment rate, ranked 49th in the number of jobs created in states, territories, the District of Columbia.

California led with 110,185 jobs created or saved, followed by New York with 40,620, Washington with 34,517 and Florida with 29,321.

Puerto Rico led in unemployment with 16.2 percent, followed by Michigan at 15.3 percent and Nevada at 13.3 percent.

New job numbers from businesses, contractors, state and local governments, nonprofit groups and universities were released, showing 640,329 positions credited to the stimulus, according to the independent federal board monitoring the program's progress.

Teachers and other education employees represent the largest number of jobs in the report, about 325,000.

Linda Smith, the governor's senior policy adviser, said the state Legislature has already included the $105 million in its biennium 2009-11 budget, including $53 million to state public schools and $45 million to the University of Hawaii.

She said Gov. Linda Lingle had discussions with state education officials, and signed off this month on the memorandum releasing the funds with certain criteria, including improvements in curriculum and establishing graduation rates.

“;We're very pleased with the agreement reached,”; she said. “;It holds us all accountable.”;

Smith said the Lingle administration is planning to spend an additional $35 million under the economic stimulus plan to improve student performance.

Mark Anderson, deputy director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, said according to federal nationwide projections, most of the funds are expected to be spent in 2010, and more funds will be expended in 2011 than 2009.

Hawaii's chief economist, Pearl Iboshi, said the number of direct jobs created from the stimulus money in Hawaii were actually higher than the preliminary figures the state provided in the federal report.

Iboshi said the accounting for some jobs, including those generated by the state Department of Transportation, was delayed because of federal reimbursement procedures.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.