Conservative media misrepresent 30K stimulus job count


Following the release of preliminary data from indicating that around 30,000 jobs have been created or saved through federal stimulus contracts thus far, numerous conservative media figures have distorted the report to claim or suggest that the 30,000 figure represents the sum total of jobs created by the stimulus program to date. In fact, the 30,000 figure represents only the number of jobs created through federal contracts that have been awarded with stimulus funds, which is a small fraction of the total stimulus spending, and does not represent the total job impact of the $173 billion of stimulus funds that have been spent by the government thus far.

Media conservatives falsely suggest 30,000 is total job impact of stimulus package thus far

Fox Nation headline: "Jobs 'Saved or Created' from $787 Billion Porkulus: 30,083." The Fox Nation headline suggesting that 30,083 is the count of all the jobs saved or created by the "$787 Billion" stimulus package linked to a blog post by Hot Air's Ed Morrissey. Morrissey forwarded the apples-to-oranges comparison of the Obama administration's job estimate for all stimulus funds that have been used thus far with data for jobs created or saved through stimulus contracts. The paragraph stated that the "White House announced last month that a million jobs had been 'saved or created' by the stimulus package, without any supporting data. This week, the administration finally supplied the data, and the number came to less than 1/30th of their September claim." From Fox on October 16:

Fox Nation headline

Fox Nation excerpt

Hannity: "[T]he stimulus has only created 30,000 jobs." During his Fox News program, Sean Hannity stated, "Now, we have told you many times that the stimulus has failed to live up to their expectations. As a result, one Democrat who initially was enthusiastic about the measure is scaling back her support for it." He went on to state, "Now, since learning the stimulus has only created 30,000 jobs, New Hampshire representative Carol Shea-Porter isn't so hot on this anymore," and aired video of Shea-Porter's statement that "I know that it has created some jobs, but clearly not what we were anticipating. And again, I think that we should have put more money into the infrastructure so that there would be more projects that people could work on." [Hannity, 10/21/09]

Stephen Moore: 30,000 jobs is "pretty pitiful ... when you consider that the administration promised us that there would be three million jobs." Appearing on Fox News' On the Record, Wall Street Journal editorial writer Stephen Moore stated that the 30,000 job count for federal stimulus contracts is "pretty pitiful, really, I mean, when you consider that the administration promised us that there would be three million jobs created." He added, "Even if they're right that 30,000 jobs have been saved or created by the stimulus money, that's about 1 out of 100 of the jobs that were promised. We've got a rising unemployment rate. And you know, when I saw that report, I thought, this is really kind of pathetic, that this is all that we've gotten for all this money that's been spent." [On the Record, 10/16/09]

Van Susteren: "The point was to stimulate jobs. We only have 30,000 jobs, according to their website." Van Susteren stated, "OK, President Obama won the election, and he and the Democratic congress, they got their shot with the $787 billion. The point was to stimulate jobs. We only have 30,000 jobs now, according to their website. We are now six or seven months into it." In addition, Moore, who again appeared as a guest on the program, stated, "I can't point to a single thing that we've done in Washington that is helping small businesses create jobs. And as the White House said last week, they've only created 30,000 jobs with the stimulus bill through the federal contracts." [On the Record, 10/20/09]

Jim Hoft: Stimulus "produced 30,083 jobs." In an October 22 Gateway Pundit blog post, Hoft wrote that "Barack Obama promised his stimulus plan would create 2.5 million jobs. Instead, the record spending produced 30,083 jobs including reportedly 20 jobs in Connecticut, 28 jobs in Vermont and 22 jobs in New Hampshire." [Gateway Pundit, 10/22/09]

In fact, 30,000 jobs come from "small slice of a sliver" of the stimulus program Over 30,000 jobs created or saved with funds spent for "Federal Contracts Only." stated that as of October 10, 30,383 jobs had been created or saved "as reported by federal contract recipients" and noted that the number is "For Federal Contracts Only." The data also showed that about $2.2 billion of the $16 billion of contracts awarded thus far was reported as "Received" by the contract recipients. From [accessed October 23]: chart

New York Times reported the jobs "come from a small slice of a sliver of the $787 billion stimulus program." On October 15, when the data was released, The New York Times reported, "The new jobs reported Thursday come from a small slice of a sliver of the $787 billion stimulus program: the roughly $16 billion worth of stimulus contracts that were awarded directly by federal agencies, of which about $2.2 billion has been spent so far." shows that the $16 billion in federal contracts awarded, of which around $2.2 billion has been paid out, is a relatively small portion of the direct stimulus spending for contracts, grants, and loans. The following graphics were posted on [accessed 10/23/09]: graphic

Funds for contracts, grants and loans are one portion of stimulus package. states that the $787 billion stimulus package is comprised of three categories: 1) tax benefits, for which $62.5 billion has been paid out as of October 8; 2) contracts, grants and loans, for which $47 billion has been paid out; and 3) extensions of entitlement benefits, of which $63.7 billion has been paid out:

Chart of Recovery Act distributions

Job data from stimulus "grants and loans" not yet available. states, "As of Oct. 10, 2009, there were 112,219 total awards, 8% were federal contracts, 91.7% were grants, and 0.3% were loans." The job data from recipients of "grants and loans will be added on Oct. 30," according to the website.

Data on jobs created or saved through contracts also excludes any jobs created indirectly by spending. The Hill reported that "[t]he White House recovery team said that the reported jobs number represented just 5 percent of the of the jobs directly saved or created by stimulus since it came out of contracts that represented only 5 percent of the stimulus spending so far. And as many jobs came directly from the spending, just as many jobs were indirect results of stimulus programs and tax cuts, the White House recovery office said." The Hill further wrote, "According to the White House recovery office's rough calculations, the 30,083 jobs number projects out to a total of 1.2 million jobs saved or created by the stimulus through September." [The Hill, 10/15/09] A report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors said on September 10 that the October recipient reports "will not provide an easy way of finding the overall effects of the Act":

Importantly, recipient reports will not encompass all ARRA spending. Specifically, the reports due to begin in October will provide employment impacts only for those projects and activities funded by state fiscal relief grants and government investment spending. The job impacts associated with the remaining recovery funds, such as funds going to individual tax cuts, business tax incentives, and aid to directly impacted individuals, will not be captured. Furthermore, recipients are only required to report on direct jobs created or retained by the entities receiving recovery funds (for example, the general contractor for a road project) and not additional job impacts that may be occurring beyond that (for example, at sub-contractors or suppliers to the general contractor). And of course, they will not capture jobs created by the additional spending resulting from the higher incomes of the workers hired. Thus, the recipient reports will not provide an easy way of finding the overall effects of the Act.

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