At the state unemployment office in Raleigh Wednesday, James Delk was one of dozens looking for work. He sounded pessimistic when Eyewitness News asked if he thought he could land one of the stimulus jobs promised by the Governor.
"Slim and none," he said.
We got the same answer from Michael Gibbs.
"Very slim to none," he said.
Both men pointed out that the first round of stimulus money has been earmarked for road construction. Federal interstate commerce rules mean the contracts for those projects cannot be restricted to North Carolina companies or North Carolina workers.
"It should go to the people, you know, that's hard working - not saying they're not hard working - but people that's looking for jobs right here in North Carolina," said Gibbs.
That sentiment did not fall on deaf ears when it comes to at least one state legislator.
"Where are the assurances this money is going to be put to work? And are we gonna hire North Carolina people?"asked Sen. David Hoyle, (D) Gaston County.
Hoyle grilled the director of the state's Office Of Economic Recovery And Investment - the Stimulus Czar - Dempsey Benton. Hoyle's questions came at a meeting of state legislators about the stimulus package.
"Are we gonna create any jobs or are we just gonna spend a hell of a lot of money and when we get through we'll be about where we are now?" he asked.
Afterwards, Benton admitted some of the $6.1 billion would simply maintain jobs. But, he contends many of the early projects - like road building - will create jobs here at home.
"It's very likely that truck drivers and skilled folks like that will come from the regional employment base. That's been the past history," he offered.
Cven critic David Hoyle admitted that there is an upside to allowing out-of-state companies and workers to get a shot at our stimulus money. It means that in-state companies and workers will also have a shot at the stimulus money of other states.