Journalism in the Public Interest


New Questions About Stim Job Numbers; White House Fires Back

Employees of Pike Industries work at night paving a portion of Route 101 in Exeter, N.H. (Pike Industries/Reuters) Today's roundup of stimulus coverage:

We start today with an Associated Press story that seems to have rattled the White House. The AP reports that the government "has overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved with federal contracts" from the stimulus. At question is the government's assertion two weeks ago that federal stimulus contracts had created more than 30,000 jobs. The AP reports that the number is overstated by at least 5,000 jobs. According to the story, one company in Colorado said it had created 4,231 jobs thanks to the stimulus, when the real number was fewer than 1,000.

The White House pushed back. Ed DeSeve, a White House adviser on the stimulus, argued that the AP spotted just a few small problems, which the administration has already fixed for its next release of data, scheduled for Friday. "This story draws misleading conclusions from a handful of examples," said DeSeve, who added that the errors are "not significant to the total job count" to be posted on Friday.

The fuss over the administration's job numbers coincides with the release of another set of numbers: third-quarter GDP, which grew at an annualized rate of 3.5 percent. The New York Times reports that much of the growth can be attributed to the billions spent on the stimulus, producing what one economist called "an artificial recovery." The Washington Post's Frank Ahrens expands on that point, arguing that unemployment will still be the number to watch.

Are you tracking the stimulus? ProPublica has set up a mailing list for reporters covering the stimulus, and you’re welcome to join. Just e-mail us.

Deborah Plummer

Oct. 30, 2009, 9:59 p.m.

Hi Amanda <and everyone else ... :) :)>  ....

This is your fan from the HuffPost days - Debbi from KS.  I have a question and wasn’t able to find the answer myself on your excellent website.  I checked our dist./Kaw Valley USD 321’s stimulus money (zip code:  66536 - $701,794, althou I thought it was lower) and found 5 grants had been awarded but no jobs were created/reported, yet.  When you initially started reporting on all of this (oh, my!), I found KawValley and it seemed they were getting money for Title 1 programs - is that OK?  I thought we received money for Title programs from a “different fund.”  I emphasize with Arte Duncan and his frustration with various school districts but, until we get straighten-out with the supra-system, which includes our banking system/bankers/WallStreeters, too extreme wealth, 500% difference between the very poor and the wealthiest, a stronger middle-class, quality jobs, health-insurance for all (HR 676), etc., then forget about quality education.  I was in public education for 27 years and sometimes I grow weary of people who haven’t been in education and instead come from the “business world,” like the superintendent in D.C.  She said once she wanted to get rid of the “fuzzy-wuzzies” in education.  Oh, brother ... talk about a talking corporate head - that’s her and that’s what has made education suck/go downhill.  Oh, well .... I “dither” and wander ....

I was wondering if I could find out where the money went or, is going?  Is it truly going to Title I programs (2) or, building funds, or, saving jobs?  Our dist. is falling apart financially right now and it is so sad.

Thank you, Amanda, for any help you can provide. Hope life is going well for you!

Takecare, :) :) :) :)