The Build Back Better Act will support 2.3 million jobs per year in its first five years
The Build Back Better Act, while still not a done deal, now has a path toward passage in the House of Representatives, with a vote expected mid-November. The political wrangling to reach this moment has been tortuous. But the promise of the pending bill that could transform millions of lives—with meaningful investments in child care, long-term care, and universal pre-K, among others—is critical for a thriving modern economy that will boost productivity and deliver relief to strained family budgets.
Here, we update a previous analysis to reflect the latest state of the legislation and assess its potential impact on U.S. labor markets. Overall, we estimate that the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) will provide support for 2.3 million jobs per year in its first five years, shown in detail in Table 1, below. Add to this an estimated 772,000 jobs per year supported by the bipartisan infrastructure deal, also referred to as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed last Friday in the House, and you get more than 3 million jobs supported per year.
With the U.S. economy still running at least 5.5 million jobs short relative to its pre-pandemic trajectory, sustained support for job creation is a key benefit of the plan, but the economic impact will be much farther reaching. For example, roughly half of the jobs supported by BBBA result from new and expanded caregiving initiatives for universal pre-K (332,000 jobs per year), child care (574,000), and long-term care (238,000). Good jobs in these industries—where workers are deeply undervalued and underpaid—are just the tip of the iceberg that will also help get more parents back into the workforce and relieve the exorbitant financial burdens of child care and long-term care weighing on working families.
As 17 Nobel Prize winners in economics recently highlighted, BBBA is a supply-side economic plan that enables more working-age people to participate productively in the U.S. economy and invests in the long-term achievement of younger generations. Such policies provide a countervailing force against current inflationary pressures and provide insurance against the economic recovery faltering under too little policy support—a costly mistake made during the Great Recession of 2007-2009.
With the plan fully paid for, transforming the U.S. economy to be more equitable, efficient, sustainable, and prosperous should be a no-brainer. Yet there is still more work to be done to meet all of America’s pressing social and economic challenges, and more fiscal policy space available for Congress to pursue those goals.
Jobs supported by the Build Back Better Act, average per year over 5 years
|Clean energy tax incentives
|Clean energy accelerator/green bank/infrastructure bank
|Federal procurement of clean tech
|Place-based Clean Energy Economic Development and Environment
|Dental, vision, hearing
|Public housing, preservation, supply, and affordability
|LPRs for Immigrants
|Community college infrastructure
|Critical Supply Chain Resilience Fund
|Regional Innovation Hubs
|Community Revitalization Fund
|Auto supply chain
|SBA + Minority business development
|Rural Partnership Fund
|Pandemic preparedness – HHS, DOE, DOD
|Research and development
Notes: Estimates are rounded to the nearest 1,000 jobs. Research and development includes programs for infrastructure development, the National Science Foundation Technology Directorate, climate research, Department of Energy demonstrating funding, ARPA-Climate initiatives, historically Black colleges and universities, and STEM centers of excellence and education programs. Pandemic preparedness includes designated funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Energy, and Defense. CTC/EITC denotes Child Tax Credit/Earned Income Tax Credit.
Source: EPI analysis of White House and Joint Committee on Taxation data.
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