President Obama's economists asserted today that the economic stimulus package he championed had created or saved "slightly more" than 1 million jobs so far.
The White House Council on Economic Advisers said that the $787 billion stimulus bill has had "particularly strong effects in manufacturing, construction, retail trade, and temporary employment services." While the benefits have been spread across the country, states most hurt by the recession have been helped most, it said.
The council also said that about $151 billion has been spent so far, and that the stimulus added 2.3 percentages to the real growth of the economy during the second quarter. (Click here to read the report.)
The council's first quarterly report to Congress on the stimulus represents the latest salvo in the war of statistics on the $787 billion stimulus bill.
Obama promised it would create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year. But critics have questioned the figures as far too rosy and said that it is extremely difficult to determine whether a job has been "saved."
The administration has acknowledged that the recession was deeper than it believed when it pushed Congress to pass the plan in January. Unemployment is still hovering near 10 percent nationally, and the Labor Department reported last week that since the recession began in December 2007, the jobless rolls grew by 7.4 million Americans.
Republicans kept up their stimulus skepticism in response to the council's report.
“Today’s White House jobs report is one more example of this administration’s use of smoke and mirrors to mask the failure of the Democrats’ costly $787 billion stimulus bill," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement.
"The reality for countless Americans whose jobs have not been ‘saved’ is they get to join the ranks of the three million neighbors, friends and family members who have become unemployed since President Obama took office," he added. "We have watched the unemployment rate increase to 9.7 percent and seen more than 216,000 workers lose their jobs in the past 30 days. The president’s economic stimulus experiment clearly isn’t working as promised. Another report to claim phantom jobs have been ‘saved or created’ won’t convince people otherwise.”
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.