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.
The BIASED AP of all people just came out and said the STIMULUS DID NOT WORK and any growth or talk of growth was uh, uh, uh, uh, uh not true (we call them lies in the non-Obambi world).
This comes out after the administration YESTERDAY and barely reported (what a shock, say is that Sarah Palin???) says they are going to stop using the jobs created or save LIES as anyone with a working cerebrum knows they were lies (again that leaves out Obambi voters).
Let's make up numbers, no proof, but some of the sheep still believe us.
Just like Obambi is a "made up" president (no cap deserved).
AT 2 million thats $393,500 per job,where do I sign up.At $50,000,that wold hire them for 7.87 years. where do i sign Up. Too bad they can not prove they created these jobs or saved them. More Obama smoke and mirrors.
another day-another lie...Obama we have heard this lie before.
I guess the thing to ask is – where are these jobs being created? Certainly not here in CT.
YEAH AND MY NAME IS BUGS BUNNY!!!!!
If every one in the United States lost his/her job and there were no jobs to be had, the Democrats would take credit the following month for "zeroing out the jobs lost". They would claim that their efforts with the stimulus and all the other money thrown to the wolves have "now stopped job loss".
Oh, yes–I'm sure that there are two million new jobs as a result of the President's stimulus spending. I observe that every day in the fly new clothes seen on the street, and in the long lines to get into fine restaurants. It's unfortunate a few of those restaurants closed: probably their chefs became so rich that they wanted to retire country houses and eat nothing but truffles.
The reason that we don't see those 2,000,000 new jobs is that they are all government jobs, highly classified, and housed in underground bunkers.
I'll bet you know somebody who has one of those jobs, but you don't know because he or she is not at liberty to talk about it.
Are we talking real jobs or made up jobs?
I don't know how they all come out with that number, 2 million jobs. I don't think the American people are going to buy that. Show me a job wanted list, and you will make a believer out of me.
Are all the two million jobs in Afghanistan?
Enough about the saved jobs how many jobs were actually created? It is impossible to determine that a job is saved. How about the over 4 million jobs lost which were supposed to be created and the 10%(Actually 17%) unemployment rate. Obozo is a complete fraud!!!!!
What a bunch of liars. How come only the white house believes this and every other economist around the world says they are full of it. They might be able to sell this on democrats who think that economics means obamas stash but to working people conservatives we all know they are are dirt bags just taking advantage of the uneducated, democants.
Let's coin a new term called 'Omamamath'. Only using Obamamath could you have unemployment go up from 6% to 10% and still have the nerve to say you created 2 million jobs. The reality is we lost 3 million jobs since Obama took office. Note that Obamamath also says the health care bill will reduce the deficit too. Maybe I'll use Obamamath to spend twice what i make and then watch my debt go down.
Where??? Certainly not in California where we have 12% unemployed and rising daily. Must be all those grave digging shovel-ready jobs on some other planet.
They must think we are crazy and dumb.
Where are these invisible jobs?
This is just like the invisible Green jobs they keep talking about.
Every one wants to know where are these invisible jobs that no one see or has ever heard of......not our friends not our family not our fellow Democrats.....
Where in the world are these so called invisible jobs?
Really, another day another fabrication. When are people just going to be a patient and wait for the economy to recover instead of saying every day its turning around the the White House has saved the day. I hope it does but so far it hasn't happnened.
These figures are a fantasy. The Administration is trying to spin the horrible unemployment situation with smoke and mirrors. If this were a McCain administration CNN and the rest of the Liberal media would dismiss them out of hand with smirks and then quote all the Dems ridiculing the whole idea. Of course that would happen after six stories of the misery of the unemployed in the country.
Nov. 2010 can't come fast enough.
The last time the white house bragged about jobs 'created or saved' it turned out to be a big lie. They played fast and loose with the numbers. Why should we believe them this time? Also, if nobama really created 2 million jobs, that would be at a cost of $393,500 per job!!! Oh, but unemployment is still at 10%?! Give me a break!
This is amusing. Where did OBOZO and GIBBS pull this number>
What a joke.
This goes to show you how stupid the OBOZO Administration thinks the American People really are.
Hey, I've got a bridge for sell if you believe this garbage.
Oh yeah, and people though BUSH had fuzzy math.....
In Obozo world, 2+2 = 9
Made up jobs DO NOT put food on the table and pay the bills!
YOU CAN NOT EAT OR SPEND AIR MORON!
This admin is nothing but a bunch of FOOLS playing games.
Children play "make believe" it should not be our President!
OK, so the White House has changed the accounting so that if you got stimulus funds and those funds paid for somebody's raise, that now counts as a job "saved or created". If you take stimulus funds and use them to pay an employee who you were never intending to lay off anyway, that now counts as a job "saved or created".
You know, I should be surprised that the American press whom the Constitution blesses with so many protections is not jumping all over this fact, but somehow I'm not surprised by their level of biased, partisan apathy. Use them or loose them mainstream media!
At this point, I don't think the administration is spending too much time worrying about losing credibility. That would be about like Bernie Madoff worrying if his new address is scaring away prospective clients.
This, of course, is total hooey. The White House simply changed the definition so that any job at any company that even got close to any stimulus funds would be counted. Disgusting.