Following The Stimulus Money In New Hampshire A $100 million infusion has already had an impact on people's homes, small companies and other businesses in the Granite State. But while economists say the stimulus will generate at least 4,000 jobs, at least 10 times that many people are unemployed in the state.
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Following The Stimulus Money In New Hampshire

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Following The Stimulus Money In New Hampshire

Following The Stimulus Money In New Hampshire

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A large portion of last year's economic stimulus package still hasn't been spent. In New Hampshire alone, about a hundred million stimulus dollars will go toward locally projects by this fall.

But as New Hampshire Public Radio's Jon Greenberg reports, even that flood of money is unlikely to provide the economic turnaround the public wants.

JON GREENBERG: If you want to trace the flow of stimulus money in New Hampshire, start at Jacqueline Doyon's house in Manchester.

(Soundbite of voices)

Ms. JACQUELINE DOYON: Thank you for coming.

Unidentified Woman: Well, thank you for letting us be here, and...

Ms. DOYON: Well, you know, I don't know what I'm doing, but...

(Soundbite of laughter)

GREENBERG: The elderly widow's immaculate home is the set piece for a weatherization party. A new furnace, high efficiency light bulbs and fresh insulation have cut her energy bills almost in half, all thanks to programs funded by the economic stimulus. In addition to helping people of modest means like Jacqueline Doyon, the program helps small contractors like Melissa and Robert Warchal. They own Warchal Insulation, which did the work on this house. Late last year, things began to kick into high gear.

Ms. MELISSA WARCHAL (Co-owner, Warchal Insulation): There was just a stack of jobs waiting for us, and it's been consistent ever since.

GREENBERG: With so much work coming from the stimulus, the Warchals did what the Obama administration hoped: They expanded.

Ms. WARCHAL: We ended up buying another truck, and we hired two more full-time employees.

GREENBERG: One of those new hires is 22-year-old Adam Baker. The job could not have come at a better time for Baker and his girlfriend.

Mr. ADAM BAKER (Employee, Warchal Insulation): I'm actually expecting a child in November. So, we just found out on Wednesday, actually, and I'm trying to put a lot of money aside for him.

GREENBERG: Infrastructure spending from the stimulus is not new. What's new is the number of big projects finally getting underway. About $100 million worth will hit the Granite State's economy between now and the fall. That will produce a lot of jobs, and each one will generate more jobs as people buy groceries and clothes and so on.

As it turns out, Adam Baker's family owns Newfound Grocery, Restaurant and Deli in New Hampshire's Lakes Region. We stopped by to visit his mother, Holly Kerouac.

(Soundbite of doorbell)

GREENBERG: Many of the goods on the shelves are locally made. You can buy everything from T-shirts to everyday food.

Ms. HOLLY KEROUAC (Co-owner, Newfound Grocery, Restaurant and Deli): Everybody seems to think you have to go to the big grocery store to get a deal on meat. We grind every day. I have to go grind in a few minutes. It's certified Angus. It's the same price as you can find at Hannaford, Shaw's, all of the big deals.

GREENBERG: Even Kerouac got a boost from the stimulus. The act paid for energy auditors and low-interest loans to install new energy-efficient lighting.

Ms. KEROUAC: So that's going to help pay for itself in, they figure, less than eight months.

GREENBERG: Even though this summer is the best she's had in two years, Kerouac remains anxious. Too many local businesses have shut down. Too many middle-aged workers have no prospects for work. Although the stimulus helped her son get a job and paid to improve her business, Kerouac feels it hasn't filtered down to the average worker or small business. That said, her sense of what's in the stimulus remains murky.

Ms. KEROUAC: I think a lot of people aren't educated on it, myself included. You have to really be involved in it to understand just how far it does go.

GREENBERG: Economist Russ Thibeault with Applied Economics estimates that between direct and indirect spending, the latest bolt of cash will generate at least another 4,000 jobs in the state.

Mr. RUSS THIBEAULT (Economist, Applied Economics): But you have to put it in the context of 50,000 people in New Hampshire being unemployed right now. So it's helpful, but it's not going to solve our problem.

GREENBERG: So long as many people here share that conclusion, the stimulus will continue to disappoint.

For NPR, I'm Jon Greenberg in Concord, New Hampshire.

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