A new analysis tracking the 2009 federal stimulus package shows that both in Idaho and across the country, job losses have outpaced jobs created by the spending program. Economists in the Obama administration say more jobs have been created.
A report from the Mercatus Center, a research wing of George Mason University that focuses on markets and economics, says Idaho’s workforce dropped by 14,600 employees since February 2009, while the federal stimulus has reportedly saved 8,383 jobs. Nationally, 2.62 million Americans have lost their jobs since the stimulus package was approved by Congress, and 755,454 job have been created.
The researcher behind the study, Veronique de Rugy with the Mercatus Center, said many of the jobs created by the stimulus package will be temporary. “These jobs have a high cost,” de Rugy said in an interview on C-SPAN last month. “Stimulus by spending cannot create long, sustainable jobs. Basically, you get a job while the government money is in, but if you take it out, the job is gone. That’s not a sustainable job.”
The White House Council of Economic Advisers has rosier projections about the stimulus’ effect on jobs. It released a report last month saying that based on economic projections the stimulus plan has met President Barack Obama’s goal of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs. Those higher projections include an estimated 15,000 jobs created in Idaho just from from April to June of this year.
The projections from the White House economists differ from the data available on the government’s website tracking the stimulus package’s spending and job creation, Recovery.gov, which was used by Mercatus. The state and national job loss figures in the Mercatus study come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks unemployment data for the federal government.
As of last week, $426 billion of the $787 stimulus package remains unspent.
Idaho has been awarded $1.6 billion in stimulus funds, according to the Recovery.gov site. The top recipients in the state are CH2M, an engineering and environmental firm, the Idaho Department of Transportation, and the state of Idaho.
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