NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Obama's Green-Energy Jobs Lie

November 10, 2011

A recent hearing before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee has increased cynicism that the growth in green jobs touted by supporters of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act was nothing but a farce.  The inspector general of the Energy Department and an assistant inspector general of the Labor Department testified that many funds authorized by Congress to create green jobs had not been spent or, if spent, yielded meager results, says Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

  • The Labor Department's green jobs training program showed that only 2.5 percent of individuals originally enrolled were still employed in the jobs for which they were trained six months after the start of their job.
  • One estimated that 45 percent of funds appropriated by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for green energy had not been spent, because few "shovel ready" projects existed.
  • Since the end of the recession in June 2009, the economy has gained only 841,000 nonfarm payroll jobs for $825 billion in stimulus spending (approximately $1,000,000 per job).

While some claim that subsequent phases of spending will be more efficient and better supervised, this policy option is contrary to the opinions of the Labor Department inspector general, who recommended that any funds still unspent should be returned to the Treasury.  Further exacerbating disappointment with the performance of government agencies in creating those jobs is that the performance of newly hired workers was often subpar.  In one state audit, 9 out of 17 weatherized homes failed inspection due to substandard workmanship.

Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Obama's Green-Energy Jobs Lie," Real Clear Markets, November 3, 2011.

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