Some 600,000 jobs tied to Obama stimulus plan in 4Q

By Lisa Lambert

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama’s
economic stimulus package saved or created nearly 600,000 jobs
in the final three months of 2009, the White House said in a
report likely to intensify debate over a new jobs bill.

With unemployment at a 26-year high of 10 percent, Obama
and the Democratic-controlled Congress are eager to boost job
growth and will use the report on the federal website to gauge the impact of the $787 billion
stimulus plan passed last year.

Democrats want to build support for new jobs legislation,
including a package Senate Democrats expect to unveil in the
coming week.

The House of Representatives recently passed a jobs bill
modeled after the package of direct spending and tax breaks
that was meant to combat the worst recession since the Great
Depression of the 1930s.

The new report, posted late on Saturday, showed 599,108
stimulus-related jobs reported by recipients of funding between
Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2009.

California, one of the states that has lost the most jobs
in the recession, posted 71,015 stimulus-related jobs for the
fourth quarter. Michigan, which consistently has the highest
unemployment rate in the nation, listed 20,140 such jobs.

But the report’s accuracy came under immediate attack.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a private
research group, and others said it had not counted jobs
indirectly created by spending on extra unemployment benefits,
increased Medicaid reimbursements and tax cuts.

The site’s previous job creation report, which estimated
640,239 jobs were saved or created through the end of
September, was riddled with errors because some recipients of
stimulus funds did not know how to report the impact on jobs.

Republicans and some companies attacked the previous report
as having over-counted the number of jobs created and saved.

The new report used a different methodology.

Those who receive grants and loans through the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act for projects such as highway
repair are required to make quarterly reports on how the money
has been spent.

Earlier this month, the White House Council of Economic
Advisers estimated there would have been 1.5 million to 2
million fewer jobs in 2009 if not for the stimulus funds.

That would mean a total of a little more than 1.2 million
jobs were created or saved in 2009, versus the Council’s
forecast of 1.5 million to 2 million jobs, though comparisons
are difficult.

Last month, Vice President Joe Biden addressed another
problem with the report when he noted that some recipients have
not entered data at all. Propublica, an investigative
journalism group tracking the government’s pledge to keep
stimulus awards transparent, said more than 2,500 recipients
never turned in tallies for the report released in October.

Biden pledged to crack down on recipients who were
“non-compliant” in reporting.

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(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Jim Wolf, editing by Peter
Henderson and Paul Simao)

Some 600,000 jobs tied to Obama stimulus plan in 4Q