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Reality Check: Job Claims For New Vikings Stadium

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77648_Pat Kessler WEB Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – On Tuesday, the state legislature resumes hearings on a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, just as the Viking ramp-up an ad campaign.

The ad claims construction of a stadium in Arden Hills alone could bring thousands of jobs.

The ads, which run on television and in last weekend’s Twin Cities newspapers, build a case for “Why A Lousy Economy Can Be A Good Time To Build A Stadium.”

“We can put Minnesotans back to work, with over 7,000 jobs, and $300 million in wages. We can help build Minnesota businesses,” said the television ad, which cuts scenes of Vikings games old and new with construction projects (in Minneapolis).

IN FACT…

Those numbers may not be as far off as they might sound. And there’s actually recent history to back up the Vikings job claims.

Target Field in Minneapolis cost $506 million, which is half the Vikings stadium $1.1 billion price tag.

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:

Ironworkers 1,347
Carpenters 1,337
Electricians 1,236
Laborers 1,030

That’s NOT THE WHOLE STORY.

At $1.1 billion, a Vikings stadium could be the single largest construction project EVER in Minnesota.

The previous most expensive project in Minnesota is thought to be the 3rd nuclear reactor at Xcel Energy plant in Monticello, which cost $1 billion in the 1980s.

At the same time, the taxpayer investment could be the largest public subsidy ever.
Supporters call it a billion dollar stimulus package.

“There are thousands of jobs,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “People who are not working in this state in the construction industry, who would be put to work on this project for the next three or four years.”

HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Unemployment for construction workers is among the highest of any industry in the state with 50,000 construction workers who lost their jobs in this recession. The 7500 Vikings stadium jobs would barely put a dent in that.

Whether it is a proper use of public money — taxpayer dollars to build a football stadium — is a separate question.

That’s Reality Check.

Click on the links below to check the resources used for this Reality Check.

Minnesota Vikings Stadium Drive
Minnesota Economy At A Glance
Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Numbers (PDF)
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Building Trades
FAQ Xcel Energy Nuclear Plant
MN Twins Target Field Financing (PDF)

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