DEFINITION of 'Shovel Ready'
A phrase describing the status of a project that is considered to be in the advanced stages of development. Shovel-ready implies that the project can be begun by laborers and is past the planning stages.
BREAKING DOWN 'Shovel Ready'
The phrase "shovel ready" is used when referring to projects that, if given stimulus money, will have the most immediate impact on employment and the economy. While stimulus spending on shovel-ready projects is designed to help the economy, it is possible that misguided projects will be undertaken simply for the sake of spending, and that government funds could be better used elsewhere.