January 13th, 2010
12:30 PM ET
8 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. Harumph

    1.5 to 2 mill jobs, ROFLMAO....

    January 13, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    If the republicans had their way, they would have destroyed the American automobile and auto related industries, which would have cost an additional 3 million jobs. One thing about the lying worthless republicans, is that they really do not care about Americans.

    January 13, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Paul from Phoenix

    It really doesn't matter how many jobs were added unless it is compared to the jobs lost.

    If 10,000,000 jobs were added, but 10,000,001 jobs were lost, then it is a failure.

    Anytime you net negative jobs, you have failed.

    January 13, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Almost every indication is that we are beginning to see the end of the republican destruction of the American economy over the last 8 years of Bush/Cheney. The stock market is up, durable goods orders up, unemployment leveling off (hopefully it will not reach Reagan numbers), Americans are safer than they were under Bush/Cheney's dozen of terrorist attacks after 9-11.

    Obama is doing a super job, and the right wingnuts got nothing but hate and fear.

    January 13, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Albert K. L.A., CA

    Before anyone argues that the stimulus program has not boosted employment they should first explain why the deregulation of our financial institutions and lowering taxes on the rich, under Reagan and Bush, failed to deliver on its promise of "spuring job grouth, " and caused this financial collapse.

    January 13, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. J.P.

    Hmm... really?
    Because the government's own Bureau of Labor Statistics will disagree with that "2 million" number.

    Barry Soetoro Dunham (alias "Barack Obama") saw 4.1 million jobs lost during his first year in office. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that's the most job losses in a year since 1940. (BLS could only provide data from 1940-2009).

    But whatever you do, don't believe the data!
    Instead, listen to the Messiah's charming hypnotizing words and go back to sleep.

    January 13, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Mike


    January 13, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    AND, this is not a POLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So what are the HATERS going to say now???? They will make up something because they could never see GQQD in anything President Obama does – – – – Case and POINT!!

    January 13, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. Kat

    This is such a lie. Is anyone really buying into this? Our leaders are full of it!

    January 13, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Obama Victim

    and I would possibly believe these losers because???????

    January 13, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Reggie

    More lies and fuzzy math out of this White House than any other!!!

    January 13, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. liberal wingbut

    The stimulus was a joke. The national debt and continuing debt under out of control Obama has provided no jobs.

    January 13, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Showtime - Tampa

    really....$1 Trillion dollars spent to created 2 million jobs....hummmm, so it cost nearly 500K per job most of which pay less than 50k....BRILLIANT!

    January 13, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Tom L

    The audacity of this administration knows no bounds.

    January 13, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |

    More smoke and mirrors from the Obama administration. Prop up 2 million jobs with temporary stimulus is not job creation. Without another stimulus, who will pay for these 2 million jobs? Sounds like these 2 million jobs will disappear when the funding for them disappears. Voo-doo economics, at it's worst.

    January 13, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. NVa Native

    If we go from the Bush era of shedding 600,000 jobs a month down to just 85,000 (or less) jobs a month now, then logically things are clearly getting better. And in doing the math you can't help but conclude that many jobs are being saved. Further, the Republican method of doing nothing would have "done nothing" to stop job loss. Real simple thought process – that even Sara could understand ... not really, but average Joe could ..... not the plumber who wasn't ...... er ...never mind.
    Of course logic, math, and science, along with truth and integrity, mean nothing to the neo-cons and tea-baggers. It will be entertaining to see how the right-winger whackos will spin this.

    January 13, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    More political spin.....which is grossly untrue.

    January 13, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. JM

    Oh please. Who are they trying to kid! Believe that and I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.

    January 13, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. TOTUS 4 President

    Americans are more troubled about the Democrat leader of the US Senate admitting to having racial prejudicous in favor of blacks who are light-skinned with "non-Negro" accents. This was clearly stated as one of Reid's criteria for backing Barry Obama.

    Barry & Michelle's acceptance of Reid's shallow apology is completely meaningless, because they were RECIPIENTS of Reid's racial preference. We need dark-skinned, "Negro speaking" blacks who clearly do not curry favor with Reid to speak up from their Dem plantation.

    January 13, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. shmeckell

    Here we go again. Didn’t they have this same exact claim a couple months ago, and when confronted they changed their story and said "um err um I mean we saved or created 30,000 jobs".

    Why is the White House the only one boasting the stimulus? Even liberal talk shows are starting to complain about the amount of spending and the lack of results. Just once I would like to see a Politian come out and say my idea did not do what it was intended to do.

    January 13, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. Should I believe a billionaire on am radio

    10 million jobs here are still being worked at by undocumented aliens while you collect unemployment or nothing at all.The rest went to China and India,and many from those countries came here to take your jobs via the visa route.Capitalism,a love story that will never let you down.Long live Rush Limbaugh.

    January 13, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Last Dem Standing

    Wake up brothers & sisters! Between the evils of the previous administration and Obummer, we cannot keep this spending up. I want health care reform as much as any fellow Dem but….this huge, overblown, budget-busting spending bill is gonna kill my grand kids budget. Who would have thought that our nations first black (well, almost) president would sell out our kids future.

    I consider myself a Kennedy Democrat…John, not that swimmer Ted! I am so upset I can spit over voting for this clown. USA’s budget deficit 1 month before Obama, $ 51.8 billion. Now, it’s $388 billion plus. Please, fellow Dems and Indy voters….let’s stop the bleeding!!!

    January 13, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. Brian from NJ

    This is nonsense... they have no clue! They just need to justify spending another $154B to buy votes for the November elections... how much more of our money are Democrats going to spend to stay in power?

    FYI, of the monies spent on Green Tech so far, approx. $850M of it went to to offshore companies... yup, that's right. Our tax money creating jobs overseas, mostly in Spain!

    January 13, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. mark

    Does everybody remember when obama promised that the spendulus bill would cap unemplyment at 8%, looks like somebody needs and economics lesson...

    January 13, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. chris l


    January 13, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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