TOPICS > Economy

Stimulus Created, Saved 650,000 Jobs, White House Says

BY Lea Winerman  October 30, 2009 at 10:33 AM EDT

Construction crew in Florida City, Fla. work on stimulus-funded project; Photo Getty Images

The number includes spending on education, construction and other projects through Sept. 30. The tally comes from thousands of congressionally mandated reports from state and local governments and private companies that received stimulus funds. A full report is expected to be publicly available Friday afternoon on recovery.gov, but White House officials say that they have already received the numbers.

The report only tallies the effects of about $150 billion of the $339 stimulus money spent through Sept. 30 (the legislation totaled $787 billion in all). It does not include tax cuts or grants to individuals, such as Pell grants.

White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein said that including the effects of tax cuts, the stimulus money had likely saved or created more than 1 million jobs.

“It’s a great example of the unprecedented transparency, where the American taxpayer can point and click and see their taxes creating jobs,” Bernstein told the Associated Press.

U.S. gross domestic product figures released Thursday showed economic growth in the third quarter of 2009, but with unemployment at a 26-year high, the White House is under pressure to show that the expensive stimulus bill is having its intended effect.

However, an AP analysis released Thursday found that an early stimulus progress report — based on less complete data — had overstated the number of jobs created at that time.

“Some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two, three, four, or even more times. The government has overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved,” the AP reported. “The discrepancy raises questions about the reliability of a key benchmark the administration uses to gauge the success of the stimulus.

Ed DeSeve, an Obama adviser helping to oversee the stimulus program, said agencies have been working with businesses that received the money to correct mistakes in the data. Other errors discovered by the public also will be corrected, he said.