California could see hundreds of thousands of highway and transit-related jobs over the next five years due to the new Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act signed by President Biden last month. Importantly, some of the new jobs could promote much-needed economic mobility for California’s workers.
California is slated to get $25 billion for highways, $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repair, and $9.45 billion for public transportation from the infrastructure plan. The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) says this new investment “is likely to spur economic activity across the state” and will “create new jobs in sectors that build and maintain the state’s infrastructure.”
The California Alliance for Jobs agrees. “It’s going to be really substantial for California’s economy,” said executive director Michael Quigley. “We can see 75,000 to 100,000 jobs created annually from the federal infrastructure investment.”
These new construction jobs are set to create substantial benefits for California’s workforce, including:
California’s infrastructure workers comprise 9.2% of the state’s total workforce. In a new report, PPIC found that “These workers are especially likely to have less than a bachelor’s degree” and are also “more likely to be Latino or Black than are other full-time workers across the state.” PPIC notes that this means some of the new infrastructure jobs “could promote economic mobility among workers with lower levels of education.” PPIC notes that this means some of the new infrastructure jobs “could promote economic mobility among workers with lower levels of education.”
Overall, infrastructure workers are more likely to be working full-time than other workers in California (61% compared to 43%). This opportunity for stable full-time jobs is good news, especially for workers with lower levels of education.