January 13th, 2010
12:30 PM ET
4 years ago

2 million jobs from stimulus, White House says

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The economic stimulus program has boosted employment by 1.5 million to 2 million jobs, the president's chief economic adviser said Wednesday.

The Obama administration estimate includes both jobs directly funded by stimulus money, as well as those created indirectly by companies buying supplies for stimulus projects, people spending their stimulus tax cuts and the like.

The report, by the Council of Economic Advisers, is likely to spark sharp reactions from the Obama administration's critics who argue that the $787 billion package has failed to deliver on its promises.

To be sure, the economy has continued to lose jobs despite stimulus – shedding 85,000 in December. The administration, however, maintains that things would have been much worse without the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The stimulus act also added between 1.5 and 3 percentage points to the nation's gross domestic product in the last three months of 2009, the council said in its second quarterly stimulus report to Congress.

This is a slower pace than in the third quarter, for which the council estimates stimulus added between 3 and 4 percentage points. The economy grew at a 2.2% rate in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department. The official fourth-quarter GDP report is set to be released later this month.

"Fiscal stimulus has the biggest impact on growth rates when it's first ramping up," said Christina Romer, chairwoman of the council.

The economy likely grew at a 3% rate in the fourth quarter, according to a National Association of Business Economists forecast. The stimulus program, however, should continue to keep the level of the economy elevated throughout the year as the federal government continues to release the funds, Romer said.

Some one-third of stimulus funds, or $263.3 billion, has been paid to states, contractors and other recipients or has been distributed in tax breaks. Taking into account the amount approved for distribution but not yet handed out to recipients, the percentage rises to one-half.

The Romer report comes as the administration pushes a second stimulus bill in hopes of boosting employment. The Jobs for Main Street legislation calls for spending $154 billion on highway and transit construction and also on education, to prevent states from laying off teachers. The bill would extend the deadline to file for unemployment insurance and the Cobra health insurance subsidy until the end of June.

The nation needs such "targeted action" at this point to jumpstart private sector hiring, which is crucial for an economic recovery, Romer said.

At the same time, Republicans have become increasingly vocal that the Recovery Act is a failure. Pointing to the stubbornly high 10% unemployment rate, the GOP says the stimulus package has done little to boost the economy.

"This latest 'stimulus' report is a lot more fiction than fact," said Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the House Republican Leader. "The Administration has no idea how many jobs have been 'saved or created,' but we do know that roughly three million Americans have lost their jobs since the 'stimulus' was enacted."

Romer, in a conference call with journalists, said the council did not look at what the unemployment rate would have been without the Recovery Act.

She also pointed to private-sector economic analyses estimating that stimulus added between 1 million and 1.6 million jobs and between 1.5 and 3.1 percentage points of GDP growth in the fourth quarter. The Congressional Budget Office attributes between 800,000 to 2.4 million jobs and 1.2 to 3.1 percentage points of economic growth to stimulus.

"That a wide range of private and government analysts concur with our estimates adds a reassuring check on our analysis," she wrote in the report.

Measuring stimulus' impact is far from an exact science, said Anne Mathias, head of research for Concept Capital's Washington Research Group.

"It's impossible to say with any real accuracy whether stimulus is a success, how many jobs it created and how many jobs it prevented from disappearing," she said. You can only make estimates."

The report also highlighted the Recovery Act's impact on clean energy programs. So far, some $5 billion has been spent on or received as tax cuts for clean energy investments, with another $26 billion approved. These measures have created 52,000 direct jobs, with another 11,000 indirect positions.

Romer's job estimates are based on mathematical models that attempt to calculate the economic impact of federal spending and tax cuts. The government is also collecting reports from many funding recipients that attempt to chronicle how many actual jobs have been funded.

The second such summary of how many jobs were directly funded by stimulus spending is due to be released in the next few weeks. The initial report, put out in October, showed that recipients created or saved 640,000 jobs in the third quarter.

The administration last month changed the methodology used to track stimulus jobs to cover all positions funded by stimulus money, not just those "created" or "saved." It will also only report figures on a quarterly basis and not attempt to keep a running total.

soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Hussein Hater

    I must say I am shocked. All you Obamabots are not buying the BS. They must not have spiked the kool aid enough. Probably didn't have enough money for the powder thanks to Hussein's deficit.

    January 13, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Ignorant Liberal

    These liberals are just giving up. They're not even trying to hide their ineptitude.

    Only a true Obamassiah worshiper is still on that sinking ship.

    January 13, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Isaac

    I think it is true because there alot of ARRA projects every where. These projects, mainly in the construction sector, suppliers, fabricators and so on are benefiting and will benfit years to come.

    January 13, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Bob in Pa

    Must be those new "Green" jobs are so Green the blend right into the enviroment. and can't be seen.

    January 13, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Kevin in Ohio

    Two words. YOU LIE!

    January 13, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Bill

    Isn't this whole rhetoric about jobs kind of like telling a person who is bleeding profusely from an aterial wound "Hey, good news, you're bleeding is slowing down. But you're still bleeding really bad?"
    Not a lot of comfort in that, I would say.

    January 13, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Jayden,FL

    Im a Democrat and thats BS where the hell is the 2 million jobs!?

    January 13, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. dak

    Of course Obama Victim and the like could have all gotten one of these jobs and they'd STILL be screaming "IT'S A LIE"!!!!!

    January 13, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    " critics who argue that the $787 billion package has failed to deliver on its promises. "

    Get it right CNN: they don't argue that it just didn't work, they have made the illogical leap to it making things worse...because their entire strategy is "say anything" and if that's the plan, why not make up the most drastic lie instead of the more reasonable one?

    January 13, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Lacrosse Mama not for Obama from Bad Newz, VA

    OMG this is the funniest article I've ever read.

    January 13, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. TangledThorns

    Are they kidding me?

    January 13, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. afghaniscam

    Let's just say he saved 4 billion jobs.

    January 13, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Kris

    I am constantly amazed at how "RACIST" people like Jessiue Jackson and Rev. Sharpton really are and that black people in the USA just continue to support them without realizing they are their own worst enemies.

    They give Sen. Ried a pass yet on his RACIST remarks yet isn't it possible that it's not what he said but what he didn't say?

    Isn't Harry Reid implying that a dark-skinned African-American who speaks in a way that some would consider more stereotypical would not be electable?" (observation by liberal NBC's Matt Lauer)

    The blacks are being led to the slaughter by the biggest RACIST people on earth and they don't even realize it.

    Sad truly sad.

    January 13, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Alfred

    You Lie!

    January 13, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Grrr-Awful-O

    What a JOKE! If this administration has boosted jobs by 1.5 to 2 million then it has actually lost 4.5 to 5 million!! Because our net loss is 3 million. However you spin it we have 3 million more people out of work now than when Obama and the Democrats took over a year ago. Paint that as sunny as you can.

    January 13, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Math?

    So, just checking this math out.

    The government spend $787,000,000,000 creating 2,000,000 jobs.

    Doesn't that mean they spent $393,000 creating each of those jobs?

    What's the average wage earned at these jobs and who exactly is laughing all the way the bank? (well probably not a bank)

    January 13, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Hammerer

    Yeah right and the administration is transparent and the congress is bipartisan and the country is united and the taxes on the middleclass have not been raised and the war in Iraq has ended and Gittmo has closed and the way Washington works has changed and Obama goes through every bill line by line and cuts out the pork -----

    January 13, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Johnny Chagdes (from los Angeles)

    Fellow Americans ... I hope the the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has had a positive effect in your region. In California, I would merely call it the Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

    Why you ask?

    Because in Los Angeles County, the local government has been using the money to fund existing repairs that are delinquent and on a preplanned schedule ... why not "American" ... because when I see that the majority of the workers cannot speak English, I really wonder who it is benefitting.

    E-verify should be a required tool for all of the money that is being thrown at state and local governments to ensure that this money is being used to hire Americans.

    January 13, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. GuyInVA

    That's right. Two million jobs. Created them all by myself. No, no. I had a little help. From my wife... Morgan Fairchild. Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Thank you Jon Lovitz.

    January 13, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. Doyle Wiley, MI

    It’s unfortunate that people usually concentrate on the bad, and overlook the good.

    January 13, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    I have seen made up polls that were more truthful! The $1.5 million was de-bunked , now it is 2 million? If all these jobs were created, that would more more tax payers, right? Yet the liberals STILL fell the need to raise taxes. Fishy!

    January 13, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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