As Infrastructure Money Lands, the Job Dividends Begin – The New York Times

by | Jan 10, 2023 | Jobs

It has never exactly been boom times for the archaeology profession, but this past year comes close — thanks to Congress.Kim Redman runs Alpine Archaeological Consultants, a firm that searches for historically or culturally valuable artifacts in the path of construction — an essential step for federally assisted projects. For decades, she has hired temporary workers (affectionately known as “shovel bums”) to comb the ground.These days, she’s bringing on as many full-timers as she can, as billions of dollars in infrastructure appropriations make their way down through the states.“If you’re going to build a road, we’re at the beginning of the process,” Ms. Redman said. “The opportunities in archaeology are immense right now — everybody’s trying to hire so we can meet the demand.”Archaeologists are on the leading edge of a wave of jobs that will result from $1.2 trillion in direct government spending from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Two subsequent initiatives — $370 billion in incentives and grants for lower-emissions energy projects provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, and $53 billion in subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing funded by the CHIPS Act — are expected to leverage tens of billions more in private capital.The primary purpose of the three laws isn’t to stimulate the economy; they are mainly intended to combat climate change, rebuild infrastructure and reduce dependence on foreign semiconductors. But they will affect the labor market, including a reallocation of workers across sectors.The funding comes as the economy is decelerating, and it may avert a sharper dip in employment brought on by the Federal Reserve’s attempts to contain inflation by raising interest rates. The construction industry, in particular, has been buffeted by a slowdown in new-home sales and st …

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