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White House Blasts AP for Story Alleging Gov't Overstated Stimulus Jobs 'by Thousands'
Administration slams what it calls a "misleading" Associated Press story alleging the government significantly overstated the number of jobs created or saved under Obama's $787B stimulus program
Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Obama administration on Thursday slammed a report from The Associated Press alleging the government had overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved with federal contracts under President Obama's $787 billion recovery program.

The White House seized on an initial report from a government oversight board weeks ago that claimed federal contracts awarded to businesses under the recovery plan already had helped pay for more than 30,000 jobs. The administration said the number was evidence that the stimulus program had exceeded early expectations toward reaching the president's promise of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.

But the 30,000 figure is overstated by thousands -- at the very least by nearly 5,000, or one in six, based on AP's limited review of some of the contracts -- because some federal agencies and recipients of the money provided incorrect job counts. The review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs were credited to stimulus spending when, in fact, none were produced.

Within minutes of the publication of AP's story, the White House released a statement at 12:15 a.m. Thursday that it said was the "real facts" about how jobs were counted in the stimulus data distributed two weeks ago.

"This story draws misleading conclusions from a handful of examples," Ed DeSeve, an Obama adviser helping to oversee the stimulus program, said.

"Tomorrow, more than 100,000 recipient reports will be posted on," DeSeve said. "Unlike the small number of reports reviewed by AP, these reports have been reviewed for weeks, errors have been spotted and corrected, and additional layers of review by state and local governments have further improved the data quality."

Nevertheless, the White House said it is aware there are problems. In an interview, the advisor said agencies have been working with businesses that received the money to correct mistakes. It asserted that had been a test run of a small subset of data that had been subjected only to three days of reviews, that it had already corrected "virtually all" the mistakes identified by the AP and that the discovery of mistakes "does not provide a statistically significant indication of the quality of the full reporting that will come on Friday."

"If there's an error that was made, let's get it fixed," DeSeve said.

There's no evidence the White House sought to inflate job numbers in the report, but the administration embraced the flawed figures the moment they were released.

The data partially reviewed by the AP for errors included all the data presently available, representing all known federal contracts awarded to businesses under the stimulus program. The figures being released Friday include different categories of stimulus spending by state governments, housing authorities, nonprofit groups and other organizations.

As of early Thursday, on its Web site, the government was still citing 30,383 as the actual number of jobs linked so far to stimulus spending, despite the mistakes the White House has now acknowledged and said were being corrected.

A Colorado company said it created 4,231 jobs with the help of Obama's economic recovery plan. The real number: fewer than 1,000.

A child care center in Florida said it saved 129 jobs with the help of stimulus money. Instead, it gave pay raises to its existing employees.

Elsewhere in the U.S., some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two, three, four or even more times.

The discrepancy raises questions about the reliability of a key benchmark the administration uses to gauge the success of the stimulus. The errors could be magnified Friday when a much larger round of reports is released. It is expected to show hundreds of thousands of jobs repairing public housing, building schools, repaving highways and keeping teachers on local payrolls.

The figures released earlier this month claimed jobs linked to roughly $16 billion in federal contracts, an initial report on a small fraction of the total stimulus program. DeSeve said federal officials had only a few days to go through the data for errors before they were made public.

It's not clear just how far off the 30,000 claim was. The AP's review, which was not an exhaustive accounting of all 9,000 contracts reported by the government so far, homed in on the most obvious cases of jobs wrongly tied to the stimulus because of duplications or misinterpretations of how the jobs should be counted.

While the thousands of overstated jobs represent a tiny sliver of the overall economy, they represent a significant percentage of the initial employment count credited to the stimulus program.

Administration officials say they are trying to head off such problems before the new figures are released Friday.

"Part of this is, it's an unprecedented effort," said Tom Gavin, a spokesman for the White House budget office. "It's as new to recipients who have to do it as it is to the American people who are able to view this data for the first time."

Some businesses actually undercounted jobs funded with stimulus money, the AP's review shows, because they reported only new jobs created, not existing jobs saved. But by far the most reporting errors were found in the number of jobs credited to the stimulus.

"I'm not trying to say one balances out the other," DeSeve said. "We don't like either of them."

In one major miscount found by the AP review, Colorado-based Teletech Government Solutions had worked with the Federal Communications Commission to come up with a job count for its $28.3 million contract for call centers fielding consumer questions about conversion of televisions to receive digital signals. The company reported creating 4,231 jobs -- the highest number listed in the first stimulus accounting -- even though 3,000 of those workers received a paycheck for five weeks or less.

"We all felt it was an appropriate way to represent the data at the time," company president Mariano Tan said.

Now the job count is being adjusted to less than 1,000, Tan said, to meet the requirement that a job reported is equal to a full-time, 40-hour-a-week position held for one year.

The Toledo, Ohio-based Koring Group also received two FCC contracts to help people make the switch to digital television. The company reported hiring 26 people for each of the two contracts, bringing its total jobs to 54 on the government's official count.

But the company cited the same 26 workers for both contracts, meaning the same jobs were counted twice. The job count was further inflated because each job lasted only about two months, so each worker should have counted as one-sixth of a full-time job.

The FCC spotted the problem and called company owner Steve Holland, who now says the actual job count is closer to five, not 54.

"We're just trying to be accurate. All of this has happened so fast," Holland said. "It is a little confusing. We're new to government contracting."

The AP's review identified nearly 600 contracts claiming stimulus money for more than 2,700 jobs that appear to have similar duplicated counts.

DeSeve said he's pleased that the FCC and other agencies are working with businesses to fix the errors.

Barbara Moore, executive director of the Child Care Association of Brevard County in Cocoa, Fla., reported that the $98,669 she received in stimulus money saved 129 jobs at her center, though the cash was used to give her 129 employees a 3.9 percent cost-of-living raise. She said she needed to boost their salaries because some workers had left for better paying jobs.

"They were leaving because we had not been able to give them a raise in four years," Moore said.

Officials at East Central Technical College in Douglas, Ga., said they now know they shouldn't have claimed 280 stimulus jobs linked to more than $200,000 to buy three semi-trucks and trailers for commercial driving instruction, and a modular classroom and bathroom for a health education program.

"It was an error on someone's part," said Mike Light, spokesman for the Technical College System of Georgia.

The number of jobs should be zero, Light said. The 280 count represents the number of students who would benefit, he said.

The San Joaquin, Calif., Regional Rail Commission reported creating or saving 125 jobs as part of a stimulus project to lay railroad track. Because the project drew from two pools of money, the commission reported that figure twice, bringing the total to 250.

Spokesman Thomas Reeves said the commission corrected the data Tuesday and changed the total to 73, although the count is not corrected in the government's official job tally. He said officials incorrectly added some indirect job creation to reach its initial 125 total. He said the number should not have been doubled.

DeSeve said he's confident the job counts in the first report will be corrected and future reports will have fewer errors.

"What we want is the most accurate total available," he said.


This job bumping is all over the news here..the WH numbers are being torn to shreds in a lot of states...Another very expensive lie from the anointed one.

rosco 357

i saw this article from a different news agency, i just did not post it, i may, its some different i will post it as a reply,

rosco 357

‘Jobs Created or Saved’ Is White House Fantasy: Caroline Baum

Commentary by Caroline Baum

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Heresy, thy name is Christina Romer.

Last week, the chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers -- a position that carried the title “chief economist” until Larry Summers took up residence in the White House -- testified to the Joint Economic Committee on the economic crisis and the efficacy of the policy response.

Here’s the executive summary in case you missed it:

The crisis: “Inherited.”

The economy: “In terrible shape” (the inherited one).

The shocks to the system: “Larger than those that precipitated the Great Depression.”

The policy response: “Strong and timely.”

The efficacy of the policy response: a 2 to 3 percentage point addition to second-quarter growth; 3 to 4 percentage points in the third; and 160,000 to 1.5 million “jobs saved or created,” a made-up metric if there ever was one. (More on that later.)

What was most puzzling about Romer’s Oct. 22 testimony was her comment on the waning effect of fiscal stimulus.

“Most analysts predict that the fiscal stimulus will have its greatest impact on growth in the second and third quarters of 2009,” Romer said. “By mid-2010, fiscal stimulus will likely be contributing little to growth.”

At first it was just fringe elements, such as conservative blogs and the not-really-a-news-organization Fox News, that pounced on Romer’s statement. Then other news outlets started to question her statement, which seemed to fly in the face of White House assertions that only a small portion of the stimulus -- $120 billion, or 15 percent -- has actually been spent. Most of the criticism of the stimulus coming from the president’s own party has been, “too little, too late,” and here’s Romer saying it’s kaput.

Thanks for That

Instead of being banished to the woodshed, Romer was consigned to the White House blog, where she slipped into professorial mode to explain the arcane distinction between the effect of the stimulus on the change in gross domestic product and its effect on the level of GDP.

Stimulus has its biggest impact on the growth rate of GDP when it’s implemented, Romer said, using a car-and-driver analogy: Step on the accelerator, the car goes from zero to 60.

Stimulus will keep the level of GDP and employment higher than they would have been even after the growth-rate effect fades, she said.

Her logic is impeccable. It’s her premise that’s flawed.

Dispensing Lucre

When the government distributes lucre or loot, people spend it. If your interest is national income accounting, spending other people’s money is great. Spending is a back-door way for government statisticians to measure what matters, which is the real output of goods and services.

But the government has no money of its own to spend; only what it borrows or confiscates from us via taxation. Oops.

“Government job creation is an oxymoron,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business. It is only by depriving the private sector of funds that government can hire or subsidize hiring.

That’s why “jobs created or saved” is such pure fiction. It ignores what’s unseen, as our old friend Frederic Bastiat explained so eloquently 160 years ago in an essay.

Econometric models synthesize all sorts of variables and spit out a GDP forecast. From there they derive the change in employment using something called Okun’s Law, named after the late economist Arthur Okun, which describes the relationship between the two.

Fiction Lags Reality

Actual hiring seems to be lagging behind the model’s land of make-believe. For small businesses, which are the source of most job creation in the U.S., the government’s increased and changing role in the economy isn’t a confidence builder. Businessmen have no idea what health-care reform will mean for their cost structure or what whimsical tax policies the government might impose when it realizes those short-term deficits are running into long-term unfunded liabilities.

No wonder capital spending plans were at an all-time low in the third quarter, according to the NFIB monthly survey.

Only 30,383 jobs were created or saved by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to, the government’s once-transparent Web site that has become a complex blur of numbers, graphs and pie charts. These are only the jobs reported by federal contract recipients. The Obama administration will report the larger universe of ARRA-related jobs on Oct. 30.

An extrapolation of what would have happened without the fiscal stimulus isn’t much consolation to the 9.8 percent of the workforce that is unemployed. Nor is Romer’s prescription for the economy and labor market very comforting in light of the trillions of future tax dollars that have been spent, lent or promised by the federal government.

“If you take your foot off the gas, the car goes from 60 back down to a slow crawl,” Romer said in clarifying blog post.

Gentlemen, start your engines.

(Caroline Baum, author of “Just What I Said,” is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)


SSC wrote:This job bumping is all over the news here..the WH numbers are being torn to shreds in a lot of states...Another very expensive lie from the anointed one.
My understanding is that 49 of 50 states are reporting job LOSSES, not gains. Except North Dakota. Perhaps all these new jobs are in N. Dakota? Ya think? (snicker,snicker) This is the most dishonest admin since the Johnson admin. Even Nixon didn't tell lies this big. But,of course, the media hated Nixon. And they get shivers when Obama speaks. The media will eventually turn on Obama when all this deception starts falling apart and begins smoking and clanking to a stop. By then we will be VERY deeply in debt for decades.


Moon they are so desperate to make an attempt to have something look like it is working , when in truth the money is wasted and the plan is a failure...This administration does not have a clue..spend ..spend..spend and leave us drowning in debt long after they are gone..

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