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We Made Recovery.gov’s New Stimulus Data Easier to Download

Update 3:30 P.M. We left out the New Jersey data in the contractors file. That's been fixed.

Yesterday, Recovery.gov, the government’s stimulus clearinghouse, released its first hard data on stimulus jobs.

Want to see the data? Recovery.gov has posted it in 183 separate files by state and territory. It’s a bit of a burden to download it all — and hard to get a sense of the national picture. So we cleaned up the formatting a bit and compiled them into two big, handy datasets, one for contractors and one for subcontractors. Take a look and let us know what you find.

(Fair warning: This isn’t a fancy interactive database like we usually do — just the raw data. We put together the files for ourselves and thought you mind find it useful as well. We’ve asked the folks who run Recovery.gov for a glossary to decode the column headings but haven’t received it yet. We’ll post if we get it.)

In truth, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions from the new data. At $16 billion, the money from federal contracts represents a tiny fraction of the $339 billion awarded so far (picture a coworker cutting an extremely narrow slice of a colleague’s birthday cake). But there are some interesting trends.

If the New Deal worker is best remembered for clearing trails and building bridges, the laborers of the stimulus may go down in history for making flu vaccines, cleaning up Cold War weapon plants, packing deli meat and answering phone calls about the government-mandated switch to digital television.

Those are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the $787 billion economic stimulus program.

The 30,383 jobs reported Thursday were concentrated in the West because that’s where the federal government has many of its military bases and national forests.

The jobs don’t include any of the teachers, state employees or road construction workers who weren’t laid off because of stimulus grants and loans. That information, which could amount to $150 billion, won’t be reported until Oct. 30. The jobs also don’t include those created by contractors’ suppliers. They don’t count the restaurant workers whose jobs were supported when the contractors took their families out to dinner or the supermarket checkers whose jobs were saved by an increase in food stamps.

Because the new job numbers are full-time equivalents, they also might undercount the actual number of people working on the stimulus because part-time jobs don’t count as a full job.

As a result, no surprise here, Democrats and Republicans disagreed about the significance of the new job numbers. Jared Bernstein, chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden, said Thursday that if you “extrapolate” the data on 30,383 jobs, it confirms the White House estimates that the stimulus has created or saved 1 million jobs.

We’ll have more on how the White House reached that conclusion soon.

Take a look. On Recovery.gov, you’ll see that more jobs have been created in Colorado than any other state. But if you look at the data, you’ll see that a lot of those jobs were created by a company that created jobs at 12 call centers across the country — not just in Colorado.

Fantastic. And thank you. Although, a download as a mySQL dump with table structure would get me past data-cleaning and into data-analysis a lot faster.

Thank You very much for the contract data info. Via your data, I can see that the data is very very corrupt and riddled with errors. As an example, I was looking for ‘gov’t created’ jobs in NY State by City.  When I performed a cross tab calculation, cities such as Scranton (PA), Honolulu etc show up.  Given that I am unfamiliar with the raw data, began to drill down to see if I was mistaken.  In the case of the Scarton PA record, absestos removal was being performed at the Historical ‘Steamtown’ locomotive site in Scranton PA.  Has nothing to do with NY State period.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Eye on the Stimulus

Eye on the Stimulus

Officials have struggled to spend the nearly $800 billion stimulus package quickly and effectively.

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