January 28th, 2010
02:43 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Fact Check: Are 2 million Americans working because of stimulus?

Union address that, because of his administration's stimulus plan, 2 million Americans are "working right now who would otherwise be unemployed."

That figure was calculated by his Council of Economic Advisers. It includes the administration's estimate of 640,000 positions that were directly funded by the stimulus through Sept. 30, as well as any job that was touched or indirectly affected by stimulus money. On Saturday, the administration will release a new estimate of positions directly funded by the stimulus till the end of 2009.

The CNN Fact Check team dug into this and found that not every worker who has ever held a stimulus-funded position is necessarily still employed in that position. A number of stimulus-funded jobs were for temporary projects that have concluded. The administration says it has accounted for this by aggregating and combining temporary or part-time jobs into the equivalent of "job years," meaning the equivalent of a full-time job held for one year.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in a report in November that 600,000 to 1.6 million Americans were employed as a result of the stimulus plan, but that figure did not include stimulus jobs created or saved in December or January.

Despite the number of jobs either "saved" or "created" by the stimulus plan, the national unemployment rate remained at 10 percent as of December, up from 7.4 percent a year earlier. Though the December number is slightly lower than the 10.1 percent recorded in October 2009, it's still the highest unemployment rate since the 1980s recession. About 15.3 million Americans are out of work. Job-seekers outnumber openings by more than six to one, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

The administration says unemployment would be much worse if the stimulus program didn't exist. A year ago, the economy was losing 691,000 jobs per month, on average, in the first quarter. In December, the number was down to 85,000 jobs lost.

– CNN's Tami Luhby contributed to this report


Filed under: SOTU fact check • Stimulus
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Russell Brown

    God forbid he implement any tax cuts that would free up cash for someone other than the government to create jobs. Unfortunately all we did was mortgage our future on a small handful of jobs so a bunch of power hungry politicians could pat themselves on the back!

    January 28, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Grrr-Awful-O

    I'm sure that 2 million are (still) working. But one thing is undeniable no matter how you try to obfuscate it: there are 3 million more people out of work now than when Obama became president. I don't care if he has saved 50 million jobs – because if he did, then he lost 53 million. Either way he's losing more jobs than his awful predecessor.

    January 28, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. Jeremy

    No... a lie?! Wow who'd have seen that coming? Sheep

    January 28, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Grrr-Awful-O

    ... losing more jobs than he's "saving". And now he's killing the stock market. Nice job!

    January 28, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Right Leaning Independent

    600,000 to 1.6 million Americans were employed... WOW – how did they come up with such a narrow range???? Who believes this stuff they come up with??

    January 28, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Steve R

    i trust this economic number fudging just as much as i trust wall street jucing my portfolio

    what

    a

    joke

    what are they afraid of, bad poll numbers or something

    follow the mass. independant vote..............vote them all out

    January 28, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. all the news that's fit to omit

    Are these the UNION ONLY jobs saved or jobs created?

    It is so hard to keep up with the lies, you really need a scorecard.

    But the great imperial leader said that if we rush through his stimulus bill unemployment would not go above 8 percent.

    Oopsy, just like the sheep over-esimated your intellect Barry, you are the worst "community organizer" ever.

    I wouldn't entrust him to run a bake sale.

    One and done and barry, YOU LIE.

    January 28, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. SkiDoc

    What else could you expect from the Liar-inchief?

    January 28, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. liberal wingnut

    Are any of the facts Obama stated ringing true?

    January 28, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Marc

    So, basically, the numbers are yet to be proven correct or false and the administration sort of jumped ahead of the release of the final numbers...
    Politics as usual.
    But I agree that the fact that the numbers of jobs losed per month has substantially decreased since the stimulus started. Now it's time to work out for the openings of new jobs surpass the closing of them.

    January 28, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. WHAT

    Temporary jobs should not be included. Also, the train is a bad idea. It is not a necessity and would not be able to move at high speeds through these large cities were they are planning. Come on people....Tampa to Orlando- 84 miles – come on, who is going to use this when it would probably be cheaper to rent a car or drive your own. I am sure with the amusement parks (Disney, Universal, Busch) they are not withering on the vine with unemployement. A little common sense please.

    January 28, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Two out of every ten Americans are unemployed or underemployed, there jobs are in limbo because employers are spending all of the money Government both local, state and federal in taxes and fees. Employers will not take a risk of hiring when uncertainy of the regulations changes keeping happening every second.
    Employment comes from Financial stability, and right now we do not have that, and I have yet to hear of even a plan to provide that? Not from either of the two major parties.Because only one plan will give stability and that is for a reduction of Government spending not increases.

    January 28, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. Nick , California

    People need to understand that no matter who won the presidency we would still have 10% unemployment! It's ignorant to think that Obama was the reason you don't have a job! You don't have a job right now because you are not willing to do whatever you need to! I have plenty of friends who left their big families and moved to other states to provide for their families! The government does not create jobs.. we the people create the jobs. All government can do is throw money at things and this will certainly stop the bleeding economy, but its up to us to come up with our own unique solutions for future business. Unemployment is so high because of our own desire for instant gratification as a nation! The only reason your flat screen tv or new computer is so cheap is because it was made in another country that does not have labor laws.. Our need to consume is now consuming us!! Until we change our thinking as a nation we will continue to shoot ourselves in the foot!

    January 28, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Joe

    You mean that Obama lied??? No way....

    January 28, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Cynthia

    Regardless if some of these people are still working or not the stimulus helped them temporarily put food on the table and probably saved their houses. CNN your fact check is just a bunch of negativity that keeps spreading like a cancer, which is what your network is, a negative horrible bunch of people who only know how to spread the bad in everything, pathetic

    January 28, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. katiec

    CNN, we intelligent people put as much faith into your fact checks as we do your polls.
    Your bias for the right seems to somehow always come through.

    January 28, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Elle in WA

    Way to nit-pick. Apparently you're missing the point: Jobs were saved. The recession was halted and we may have finally hit bottom. End of story.

    January 28, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Ron in California

    It's all fuzzy math as they say. All I know is that we are running out of money. We need to slow down the spending.

    January 28, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Chris Roberts

    Their no way of truly knowing unless people go talk to these 2 million

    January 28, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. tonyvolu

    you know where i come from the guypointing the finger was always the guilty one.shame on you republicans that only care for the rich.and if you joined in and helped instead of hinder we probably would have them all back to work.in my area i can see america at work ca. but inthat shameless state of mass.who voted kennedys seat to a pretty boy who cant even talk like a republican never mind be one.woe is me
    the jobs have left there continuously since the end of the 60s and they all went to right to work states {no unions}or overseas .i commend our president for not giving up roosevelt didnt and he put our fathers back to work after the republicans almost destroyed us then.i am proud to be an AMERICAN and i am not poor i am rich in spirit and will help our prez get the job done,viva the democratic party or the poor would be crapped on even more than they are.

    January 28, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Bedtime for Obonzo

    This number is complete fiction.

    January 28, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. Edwin

    So, it wasn't 2 million jobs saved after all, but less...

    On the other hand, it was *hundreds of thousands* of jobs. I'm sure nay-sayers will say the stimulus failed, but I'd bet those with jobs now would not be so sure.

    Before you point fingers, come up with an actual plan that works better. One with details. Oh, and prove that it works. Because otherwise you are just guessing.

    January 28, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. southerncousin

    Hey in other words Obama lied again. Was there any other expectation?

    January 28, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Luke Brown

    In my small business we have hired six new people, and saved the jobs of six of my long-term employees.

    Thank you Mr. President.

    January 28, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    Much of the stimulus, simply evaporated into thin air, through corruption.

    The number of jobs actually created is probably about 50-60% of the claimed number. Of those, many are temporary projects, which either have already, or will in the next year, end.

    Obama gave very brief mention of incentives to manufacturers to return their manufacturing to America. That should have been a much more forceful discussion, and he should be campaigning for legislation to either give those incentives, or establish severe punishments for off shore production, of goods consumed in the US.

    Until that happens, jobs in America, are dead.

    January 28, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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