ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The economic argument that government can create construction jobs quickly by investing in infrastructure doesn’t begin to capture the employment benefits of infrastructure, a new Brookings Institution study reports.
Most of the jobs created by infrastructure investment in the nation and in Albuquerque are held by people who operate infrastructure systems and facilities.
The vast majority of the 33,770 workers in Albuquerque who owe their jobs to infrastructure are employed in operations. These include everyone from meter readers employed by electric, gas and water utilities to highway maintenance workers to transportation security personnel. Only 4,970 Albuquerque area jobs in 2012 were involved in infrastructure construction, according to Brookings.
The report said 9.7 percent of Albuquerque area workers have infrastructure-related jobs.
Brookings found that laborers and freight, stock and materials handlers and movers accounted for 3,740 infrastructure jobs in the Albuquerque area. More than 5,500 workers drove trucks and delivery service vehicles. Thousands more operated buses, taxis and other transportation service equipment.
“By limiting infrastructure employment to construction alone, and viewing it largely in terms of stimulus spending, policy makers have not considered the breadth of infrastructure jobs found across the U.S. economy,” the report said.