The Obama administration said this afternoon that more than 640,000 jobs have been saved or created under President Obama's economic stimulus plan at state and local governments, nonprofit groups, and universities.
The 640,329 are in reports covering approximately $160 billion, which represents a little less than half of the funds spent through Sept. 30. Counting jobs linked to $288 billion in tax cuts, White House officials say the $787 billion stimulus plan has already created or saved more than 1 million jobs.
“These reports are strong confirmation that the Recovery Act is responsible for over one million jobs so far and we are on-track to create and save 3.5 million jobs through the Recovery Act by the end of next year. This is another encouraging sign of progress following yesterday’s news that the economy has begun to grow again for the first time in more than a year, but the President and I will not be satisfied until monthly reports show net job growth. We are working every day to create more jobs and we will continue to report on our progress doing so with the Recovery Act in the same transparent way we did today,” Vice President Joe Biden, who is overseeing the stimulus, said in an event with Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger, the California Republican, and Martin O’Malley, the Maryland Democrat.
A separate report released today by Jared Bernstein, Biden's chief economist, asserted that the new data confirms the administration is on-track to meet its goal of creating and saving at least 3.5 million jobs by next year. The report also found that the states with the highest unemployment rates nationwide reported 25 percent more jobs created and saved per capita than the nation as a whole.
The government numbers include 23,533 jobs that officials say were retained as a result of spending $1.9 billion in federal stimulus money over the past eight months in Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick announced that estimate on Wednesday, but then on Thursday announced he would eliminate nearly 1,000 state jobs to help close a $600 million budget gap.
But the Republican National Committee is aggressively disputing the numbers, citing an Associated Press report this week that an earlier stimulus status report had overstated the jobs numbers.
"Today's release from the White House will be the fourth job report in the last two months," it said today. "With a pattern of these White House 'jobs created or saved' reports being published in close proximity to releases of real data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (showing continuing job loss and rising unemployment), it is clear the Obama administration is trying to cover up economic reality by manufacturing job numbers out of thin air."
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.