NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 13, 2009

While Massachusetts recipients of federal stimulus money collectively report 12,374 jobs saved or created, a Boston Globe review shows that number is wildly exaggerated.  Organizations that received stimulus money miscounted jobs, filed erroneous figures, or claimed jobs for work that has not yet started.

The finding is based on the federal government's just-released accounts of stimulus spending at the end of October.  It lists the nearly $4 billion in stimulus awards made to an array of Massachusetts organizations, and notes how many jobs each created or saved, says the Globe.

In interviews with recipients, it was found that several openly acknowledged creating far fewer jobs than they have been credited for, says the Globe.  For instance:

  • Bridgewater State College is listed as using $77,181 in stimulus money for 160 full-time work-study jobs for students.
  • But Bridgewater State spokesman Bryan Baldwin said the college made a mistake and the actual number of new jobs was almost nothing.
  • Bridgewater has submitted a correction, but it is not yet reflected in the report.

In other cases, federal money that recipients already receive annually -- subsidies for affordable housing, for example -- was reclassified this year as stimulus spending, and the existing jobs already supported by those programs were credited to stimulus spending.

"There were no jobs created.  It was just shuffling around of the funds,'' says Susan Kelly, director of property management for Boston Land Co., which reported retaining 26 jobs with $2.7 million in rental subsidies for its affordable housing developments in Waltham.

The federal stimulus report for Massachusetts has so many errors, missing data or estimates instead of actual job counts that it may be impossible to accurately tally how many people have been employed by the massive infusion of federal money, says the Globe. 

Meanwhile, the state is expected to receive an estimated $1 billion more in stimulus contracts, grants and loans, says the Globe.

Source: Jenn Abelson and Todd Wallack, "Stimulus Job Boost in State Exaggerated, Review Finds," Boston Globe, November 11, 2009.

Foe text: 


Browse more articles on Economic Issues