Obama Administration: Stimulus Directly Saved or Created Roughly 650,000 Jobs

Jake Tapper and Matt Jaffe report:

The Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus bill directly saved or created about 650,000 jobs as of the end of last month, administration officials announced this morning.

The numbers come from Congressionally-mandated reports submitted earlier this month by tens of thousands of state and local governments, private companies, colleges, universities, and community organizations nationwide, administration officials said, with the majority of the funds coming from state governments.

Factoring jobs indirectly created from the stimulus -- not reflected in these numbers -- an administration official says in a statement that "because these reports show that less than half of the spending through that date created or saved about 650,000 jobs, they confirm government and private forecaster’s estimates that overall Recovery Act spending has created and saved at least 1 million jobs."

Moreover, the administration emphasized, these reports do not reflect the job impact of the stimulus plan's tax cuts, direct payments to individuals, and grants and awards of amounts under $25,000 per recipient. Nor, officials cautioned, do they reflect the indirect job impact of the funds, such as when employers for stimulus projects hired to meet new demand or when hired workers spent their paychecks.

Approximately 3.3 million jobs have been lost since the stimulus act passed, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The White House insists that today's report will be more accurate that the one posted weeks ago about jobs created as a direct result of contracts with the federal government, which the administration claimed created or saved 30,000 positions. An Associated Press review found issues with that report, with some counts more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs. One company working with the Federal Communications Commission reported that stimulus money paid for 4,231 jobs, when the actual number was 1,000.

White House official Ed DeSave wrote in a "fact check" of the AP study that the faulty "reports are not from the federal government – but from the very people putting Recovery funds to work." That initial analysis was posted quickly, according to legislative requirement, but the more extensive 20-day review that will post today, he said, "are far sharper than the initial ones you saw two weeks ago...We take our responsibly of reviewing these reports for accuracy very seriously – that’s why we are putting them through an extensive three-week review process."

In light of Thursday's news that the nation's economy grew at a rate of 3.5 percent during the third quarter, compared to a 6.4 percent contraction two quarters ago, administration officials cited analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers and private and public-sector forecasters that the stimulus was responsible for a 3 percent to 4 percent rise in GDP during the third quarter. Without the stimulus, they warned, the nation's economy would have grown little, if at all, during the time period.

The full reports will be posted early Friday afternoon on Recovery.gov. The website will display each project that received the funds, when they received them, how they began to spend them and the jobs they have supported thus far, officials said. In an effort to inspire public confidence in the reports, officials noted that the numbers have undergone a thorough three-week-long review involving federal agencies, an independent oversight body and direct communication with the recipients filing the reports to confirm the data.

- Jake Tapper and Matt Jaffe

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