If the unemployment rate nationwide is through the roof, than the jobless rate of the construction sector is in the clouds.
But a massive $787 billion stimulus package could infuse new life into the nation's construction industry, spark thousands of new jobs and reinvigorate an economy deeply in the doldrums.
Of the total, $27.5 billion is slated to benefit construction companies working on highways and bridges. Billions more will be devoted to construction projects in other domains, such as energy efficiency, mass transit, and affordable housing.
Will it help? While many companies have folded under the weight of the recession, for the companies that have survived, the effectiveness of the stimulus package will be put to test in 2009 and beyond.
"It is a very important piece of legislation that will affect a lot of people," said Martin Alvarez, Senior, CEO of Arizona-based Sun Eagle construction, which builds schools, police stations, fire stations and other government buildings. "We need to support Obama. People just need to be more positive; change the attitude. Attitude has a lot to do with the way the economy runs."
As May gets underway, the money is beginning to trickle into the decimated markets, in the hopes that companies on the brink will be rescued, and workers on the dole re-hired.
This summer, Americans will undoubtedly notice more and more hard hats repairing bridges, filling potholes, paving roads and adding lanes to freeways.
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