NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 20, 2009

The reports on jobs created or saved by the $787 billion stimulus package are "riddled with inaccuracies and contradictions," the federal watchdog overseeing the spending acknowledged Thursday.

Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, told a House oversight committee that the board is taking steps to correct the errors and prevent mistakes in future reports, which are filed by the recipients of stimulus money and posted on the board's Website:

  • In late October, the administration reported that the first recipients of stimulus grants, contracts or loans created or saved more than 640,000 jobs.
  • Recipients of tax breaks and aid such as unemployment insurance are not required to report, so the job numbers cover only about $47 billion of the $173 billion spent by Sept. 30.
  • Examples of errors in the data included a Texas housing authority mistakenly reporting 450 jobs created by a $26,000 roofing project that actually employed only six people.

The acting head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Gene Dodaro, told the committee his investigators found 3,978 reports where recipients reported creating a total of 58,386 jobs without spending any money.  Another 9,247 reports covering $965 million in spending listed no jobs created or saved.

One of the biggest problems was confusion among recipients on how to calculate the number of jobs saved or created, according to Dodaro, whose office is the investigative arm of Congress.  Recipients are supposed to translate the number of hours worked into the equivalent of full-time jobs, but many were confused about how to do that, he said.

Source: Matt Kelley, "Jobs reports 'riddled with inaccuracies,' " USA Today, November 20, 2009.

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