NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 25, 2010

In promoting the $787 billion so-called "stimulus", President Obama claimed it would "create or save" 2.5 million jobs immediately, and 4.1 million jobs by 2010.  So what are these?  It turns out that there are so many examples of "fuzzy math" when it comes to the "stimulus" jobs data, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) launched a series called "Stimulus Fuzzy Math." 

Some examples include: 

  • In Indiana, state officials boasted they had claimed 16,000 jobs as a result of the stimulus, except then Indy Star reported that over 13,000 of these jobs already existed.
  • In Montana, Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester claimed that $1.3 million in federal recovery funding would create 40 new jobs for the Flathead City-County Heath Department; however, the actual employment plans at the Flathead Community Health Center show it adding only two more jobs during the next fiscal year.
  • About two-thirds of the 14,506 jobs claimed to be saved under one federal office, the Administration for Children and Families at Health and Human Services, actually weren't saved at all, according to a review of the latest data by the Associated Press; instead, that figure includes more than 9,300 existing employees in hundreds of local agencies who received pay raises and benefits and whose jobs weren't saved.
  • In Michigan, of the 5.2 billion slotted for the state has "created or retained virtually no jobs," with 75 percent of stimulus grants going to projects that created zero or one jobs, at a cost per job of $2.7 million. 


  • Also in Michigan, General Motors Co. reported 105 jobs saved or created for a government purchase of 5,000 vehicles but later revised this figure to zero jobs.
  • In Georgia, President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council; trouble is, only 508 people work there.
  • In New Mexico, $27 million of federal money his state received went to nonexistent zip codes, and in Virginia, as much as $9.5 million in federal stimulus dollars went to 14 zip codes that don't exist. 

Since the $787 billion stimulus passed, 2.74 million jobs have been lost, at a cost of $287,226.28 per job, says the ATR.  But a few people are prospering: the stimulus package has contributed to the growth of the federal payroll, with the creation of 25,000 government jobs since December of 2008.  Assuming that these government workers are GS8 (mid-level) employees, they are paid $4.27 million over their career.  This equals an increased taxpayer burden of $106.75 billion, says the ATR.  

Source: Tim Andrews, "Obama's First Year: A Year Of Fuzzy Math," Americans for Tax Reform, January 19, 2010. 

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