Did Stimulus Work?

The most recent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) publication surveyed those implementing infrastructure projects to see what effect those projects had on unemployment (among other things).  The results were mixed with over three quarters of those implementing infrastructure projects reporting that those projects had either no impact or a negative impact on unemployment. What is interesting is that despite the “Economic Action Plan” of the federal government, all government spending on construction projects remained relatively stable over the past several years, suggesting that federal money stood in for provincial and municipal capital spending that was being withdrawn.

What the PBO survey may reflect is that the employment created by federal dollars only partially made up for the cutback in provincial and municipal dollars.  The federal stimulus effort was simply too small to significantly increase employment in the construction sector.