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With 3 Million Jobs Eliminated and 10 Percent Unemployment, Ways and Means Republicans Question Latest Administration Plan for Counting “Stimulus” Jobs

January 14, 2010

Washington, DC – Ways and Means Republicans today sent Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag a letter voicing their concern about the Administration’s collection and interpretation of data on jobs they attribute to stimulus.  Of particular concern to the Republican Members was the Administration’s decision to quietly change how it counted “stimulus jobs” and the growing disparity between the Administrations predictions of the stimulus bill’s impact on the economy and the reality of continued job losses.

In the letter, Ways and Means Republicans asked Director Orszag to respond to the following questions about the new methodology OMB has adopted for counting “stimulus jobs”:

  1. Using this methodology, how many jobs does the Administration believe have already been saved or created?  Please provide a breakdown of whether these jobs are in the public (including public education) sector or private sector, and whether they are permanent or temporary jobs.
  2. Using the new methodology, does the Administration now project it will be able to achieve its repeated pledges that stimulus will “save or create 3.5 million jobs” by the end of 2010?
  3. If that is the case, what does the Administration project the level of payroll employment will be in December 2010, and how does that compare with the projection in the Romer/Bernstein report of 137.55 million jobs by the end of this year?  Similarly, what does the Administration project the unemployment rate will be in December 2010, and how does that compare with the Administration’s pre-stimulus projection of 6.9% in that month if the stimulus law was enacted?
  4. In terms of counting individual jobs using the new methodology, if the same person worked in several jobs funded by the stimulus law in the same year (for example, in the summer youth jobs program, a child care center in which bonuses were paid using stimulus funds, and finally as a temporary worker in a Federal agency responsible for dispensing stimulus funds) would that person be counted as having one, two or three “stimulus jobs” in that year?
  5. When he signed the stimulus law, President Obama said he expected “the American people to hold us accountable for results” including “where those jobs are being created.”  In light of your direction to agency heads to measure the effect of the stimulus law based on whether “the wages or salaries are either paid for or will be reimbursed with Recovery Act funding” regardless of whether the job was created as a result of the funds or would be eliminated in their absence, how do you plan to provide an accountable measurement of jobs “saved or created” as the President repeatedly promised in promoting this law?

The letter to OMB Director Orszag can be read here.