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Utah's stimulus money intended to save jobs



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That massive economic stimulus package coming from Washington promises to bring $1 billion or more to Utah's economy. The conventional wisdom is that it will help either create or save thousands of jobs.

You'll recall a few weeks ago Gov. Jon Huntsman gave the incoming Obama administration a $14 billion wish list of projects, which are ready now. In reality, Utah may get between $1 billion and $2 billion in the next two years.

The governor's spokeswoman today calls the exact amount a "moving target," as the bill's not final. Still, that money equals about 10 percent of the state's budget.

Stimulus for Utah
$617 million to state aid
$310 million to road, transit, water projects
$215 million to Medicaid.
$134 million to upgrade schools
(Source: House Democrats) The money is intended to create or save jobs. We talked to the Utah Department of Workforce Services today and got some troubling numbers: The unemployment rate for December 2008 was 4.3 percent --that's up almost 1.5 percent compared with the same time last year. Nationally, the number is more than 7 percent.

Consider these numbers: Overall, Utah lost almost 25,000 jobs over the past year. By far, the biggest area was construction jobs, with more than 18,000 lost.

Hopefully, this money from Washington will at least slow down our job loss.

E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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John Daley

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