Some welcome news for the White House, and the numbers could be even higher.

First, from the Wall Street Journal:

The Congressional Budget Office late Monday said it estimates that the federal stimulus package sustained between 600,000 and 1.6 million jobs in the third quarter, and raised gross domestic product by 1.2 to 3.2 percentage points higher than it would have been without the program. […]

The CBO in March projected that the stimulus would result in 600,000 to 1.5 million more jobs than would have existed without the spending. In his blog post, Mr. Elmendorf says the CBO’s latest estimates reflect a finding that the impact of the package’s tax cuts have been about $10 billion larger than originally projected, while the impact on federal spending because of the legislation “has turned out to be slightly smaller than CBO initially estimated.”

“Economic output and employment in the spring and summer of 2009 were lower than CBO had projected at the beginning of the year. But in CBO’s judgment, that outcome reflects greater-than-projected weakness in the underlying economy rather than lower-than-expected effects” of the stimulus, according to Mr. Elmendorf’s blog post.

But the CBO does offer some caveats…

  1. First, it is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package.
  2. Second, the reports filed by recipients measure only the jobs created by employers who received ARRA funding directly or by their immediate subcontractors (so-called primary and secondary recipients), not by lower-level subcontractors.
  3. Third, the reports do not attempt to measure the number of jobs that may have been created or retained indirectly as greater income for recipients and their employees boosted demand for products and services.
  4. Fourth, the recipients’ reports cover only certain appropriations made under ARRA, which encompass only about one-quarter of the total amount spent by the government or conveyed through tax reductions in ARRA through September 2009.

What this tell us is it’s much likelier that the number of jobs created/saved is higher rather than lower. Because while the first point is valid, that nobody can predict what jobs would have occurred without the spending, the simple fact of the matter is that we can reasonably assume that, given banks unwillingness to lend right now, our economic engine would have continued to stall out.

As it stands now, we’re rolling…albeit slowly…but we’re still rolling.

By the way, can we agree once and for all that if the CBO can measure a “saved” or “retained” job that jobs were indeed saved?

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  • Tully

    What this tell us is it’s much likelier that the number of jobs created/saved is higher rather than lower.

    Not really. That’s wishful thinking without any empirical basis noted in the blog post. Note Elmendorf’s disclaimer preceding the disclaimers, which you omited…”That impact may be higher or lower than the reported number for several reasons …”

    From personal experience, the majority of jobs “created or saved” to date by the stimulus spending have been local-state government jobs and jobs resulting from local/state contract spending. Life support for local/state government and their local-contractor buddies, as I’ve said previously.

    Injecting cash into the economy through government spending artificially increases GDP, but also results in longer-term erosion of future GDP. When funded by debt, there are other adverse long-term effects. It’s not magic money.

  • Slarti

    Well, the stimulus has saved some jobs. However, it’s going to be tough to even keep the government jobs that we currently got once the Republicans gain the House.