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As Romer/Bernstein Report Reaches Its First Birthday, Unemployment Rate Remains at 10 Percent

January 08, 2010

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data showing the nation lost 85,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate remained at 10 percent.  Of note, especially for the millions of Americans without work, tomorrow marks the first birthday of the Romer/Bernstein report.  The now infamous document contains the Administration’s prediction that the 2009 stimulus law would “create between three and four million jobs by the end of 2010.”  As Democrats continue to consider their next stimulus bill, it is worth reviewing how the 2009 stimulus law has failed to deliver on each of the report’s key promises for job creation.  A printable PDF of this document can be found here.



Romer/Bernstein Prediction

Actual Outcome



“A package in the range that the President-Elect has discussed is expected to create between three and four million jobs by the end of 2010.”

Since the stimulus bill was enacted, 2.7 million jobs have been eliminated — leaving America more than 6.5 million jobs short of the prediction for the end of 2010.

Unemployment Rate

Figure 1 in the Romer/Bernstein report predicted that, if stimulus passed, unemployment would never exceed 8 percent and would be approximately 7.8 percent in December 2009.

The unemployment rate has risen from 8.2 percent in February 2009 to 10.0 percent in December 2009 — 28 percent above the level Democrats predicted.

Private Sector Employment

“More than 90 percent of the jobs created are likely to be in the private sector.”


There has been a decline in private sector employment (-2.4 percent) that is almost seven times the modest decline in government employment (-0.35 percent).

Construction and Manufacturing Employment

“Certain industries, such as construction and manufacturing, are likely to experience particularly strong job growth under a recovery package that includes an emphasis on infrastructure, energy, and school repair.”



Instead of experiencing “particularly strong” growth as promised, construction (-10.4 percent) and manufacturing (-6.7 percent) have experienced rates of job destruction several times greater than the overall rate of private sector job destruction (-2.4 percent).

Full Time Employment

“A package is…likely to move many workers from part-time to full-time work.”


Instead of moving workers from part-time to full-time work as promised, stimulus has resulted in exactly the opposite – a sharp decline in full-time employment (-4.0 percent) and a concurrent increase in unemployment and part-time work (+3.3 percent).

Sources: All data from the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, or the Romer/Bernstein report, as noted.