Secretary Pete on Biden’s remark that his infrastructure plan will create 19 million jobs – it’s more like 2.7 million

Pete Buttigieg
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images
    • President Joe Biden said April 2 that his new infrastructure package could create 19 million jobs.
    • Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg clarified on Sunday that it will probably directly create 2.7 million jobs.
    • The stat came from a Moody’s report projecting 16.3 million jobs from natural growth and the $1.9 trillion stimulus.

President Joe Biden said on April 2 that his new American Jobs Plan – the first of a two-part package – could lead to the creation of 19 million new jobs.

But Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg clarified on Sunday that the plan would create 2.7 million jobs – not 19 million.

In a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace, Buttigieg said he and the Biden administration “should have been more precise” when saying that the infrastructure plan would create 19 million new jobs, given that the economy was already on track to add millions of new jobs from natural job growth and the $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

“It will create 2.7 million more jobs than if we don’t do it, and that’s very important because there are people on this network and others saying with a straight face that this would somehow reduce the number of jobs,” Buttigieg said.

According to Bloomberg, Biden seemed to be citing a recent Moody’s Analytics report that projects 19 million jobs could be added over the next decade if the infrastructure plan passes; however, it also estimates that 16.3 million jobs would be added over the next decade from a combination of organic job growth jobs and the already-passed American Rescue Plan.

In his remarks, Biden also said that almost 90% of the infrastructure jobs could be filled by people without a college degree.

A March analysis from Morning Consult found that, during the coronavirus pandemic, more educated Americans saw their confidence rebound and grow. The same could not be said for lower-wage, less-educated workers, who feared for their ability to hold onto a job. Higher-educated Americans felt confident enough to ask for pay increases, the analysis showed.

Biden’s remarks were tied to the prior jobs report, which saw the economy add 916,000 jobs, far outpacing economists’ expectations of 660,000.

While different unemployment measures dropped amidst the good jobs news, the country still has a long way to go before returning to pre-pandemic levels. In a blog post, Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, said there were still 8.4 million fewer jobs in March 2021 than in February 2020.

Insider’s Andy Kiersz wrote that, if the March growth rate continues, employment could reach pre-pandemic levels by January 2022. Areas like movie theaters and hotels still have a long way to go, as they continue to lag in recovery.