A recent report issued by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that President Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda would support four million jobs annually. The report assesses the potential macroeconomics of two pieces of legislation pending in Congress: the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which incorporates elements of the American Jobs Plan (White House 2021a, 2021c, 2021d), and Congress’s $3.5 trillion (over 10 years) budget reconciliation bill, still being written in Congress, which incorporates measures proposed under the Biden Administration’s American Families Plan of the Build Back Better agenda (White House 2021b).
According to EPI, the two pieces of legislation amount to just over $4 trillion in new spending over 10 years.
The report finds:
- Combined, the IIJA and budget reconciliation package would provide fiscal support for more than 4 million jobs per year, on average, over the course of the 10-year budgeting window, through direct spending and increased indirect demand in related industries. The analysis does not account for dynamic effects of the planned investments, though these policies are also certain to raise business and worker productivity, and to create faster and more equitably distributed long-run economic growth and increased tax revenues.
- The budget reconciliation package under consideration would support a far greater number of jobs than the IIJA. On its own, the IIJA will provide fiscal support for 772,400 jobs per year, or 19% of the total jobs supported by the combined package. In comparison, the budget reconciliation is expected to support more than 3.2 million jobs per year, or 81% of the total jobs. The budget reconciliation’s outsize economic impact flows from its more significant financial commitment to public investments.
- Manufacturing industries would see a significant boost under these combined plans, with more than 556,000 jobs supported annually.
- The planned investments would support more than 312,000 jobs annually in construction industries.
- The budget reconciliation would vastly expand caregiving jobs to address unmet needs in child care and elder care, supporting 1.1 million jobs per year. Such investments in universal pre-K, child care, and long-term care would not only disproportionately provide jobs for women—and particularly for women of color—but would also enable millions to participate more fully in the workforce at higher productivity and to earn higher compensation. This social infrastructure investment would facilitate increased accumulation of human capital critical for America’s long-term economic prosperity; and it would provide crucial relief to family budgets straining to balance work with the costs of caregiving.
- Climate-related and other environmental provisions in the legislation would support more than 763,000 jobs annually. This includes jobs supported by investments in electric vehicle infrastructure and federal procurement of clean technologies, public transit, power infrastructure, climate resilience, agriculture and forestry innovations, environmental remediation, and scientific research and development, among other measures.
Find the full report online at www.epi.org ■