The Big 4’s Pat Kessler did a Reality Check segment about the job creation potential from building a new Vikings stadium. He looked at the Vikings’ claim that the project would generation 7,000 jobs. Like most figures put out by the Vikings in their attempt to extract more than $650,000,000 from the public, it’s grossly misleading.
Kessler addressed the issue, but didn’t really get to reality in his his report. Here’s an excerpt:
The company that built Target Field — Mortenson Construction — said it employed a total of 3500 workers.
At the height of stadium construction, a spokesman for the Minnesota Twins said 850 workers were on-site every day.
Mortenson Construction estimates a Vikings stadium will take:
4,255,201 work hours to complete.
7,500 trades people, including 1875 at peak construction.
Breaking it down more, the company estimates the top 4 trades jobs:
Here’s the deal (um, reality check check?): Employing a worker and creating a job may sound similar but aren’t exactly the same thing. If I employ someone or a day, I employed them for a day. But, to say that I created a job by doing so is one heck of an inflated definition for what I did.
The stats do show that Mortenson employed as many as 850 workers at the peak of construction. That, to me, is much closer to reality when it comes to how many jobs were created compared to the 3,500 figure. However that was at the peak. That’s not an accurate representation of how many jobs were created, on average, over the life of the project.
A more accurate was of describing the true jobs benefits of a project like this would be to look at Full Time Equivalents. Many of the jobs on a project like this are going to be short term. Yes, it’s work, but it’s not a living. If you aggregate the short term works into full time equivalents, you can get a feel for how many jobs were actually created. Here is how that’s done:
An FTE (full time equivalent) is the equivalent of one person working full time:
X 5 days/week
X 52 weeks/year
= 2080 hours/year
1 person working full time = 1 FTE
2 people each working 4 hours per day, 5 days per week = 1 FTE
Now, let’s pull a number from the Vikings “facts” and see how it stands up against a FTE calculation. The Vikings claim:
Over 4.2 million man-hours will be needed over the life of this project, and over $286 million will go toward construction wages.
4.2 million man hours
/ 2,080 work hours/yr
/ 3 Years:
= 673 full time jobs worth of work.
To me, 673 seems like a lot less than the 7,000 jobs the Vikings claim that this project would create. They’ve inflated the jobs by more than 10X by counting everyone who clocks in to work at the site rather than quantifying how many full time equivalent workers will be needed to build the stadium.
Based on what I understand to be a $1.1 billion (with a “B”) price tag for the 21,000 car parking lot (and stadium) in Arden Hills, the Vikings are only willing to pay $407 to build, the public subsidy would be $693 million. If that’s the case, here’s the reality check checked: