A Stark Difference

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This week, the Council of Economic Advisers released its third quarterly report (for Q1 2010) on the impact of the federal stimulus with respect to jobs created or saved. The headline numbers: ARRA stimulated between 2.2 and 2.8 million jobs.

NPR’s blog “The Two-Way” pointed out that adding those jobs to the March unemployment figures suggests that there could have been 5 million more people out of work in March 2010 than in March 2009, if not for the stimulus.

The Council is careful to note the challenge of accurately estimating the effects of a large policy like ARRA. In the Daily Brief on Portfolio.com, Sarah Krouse writes, “The report said the stark difference between the White House calculations and recipient-reported data — which estimated a total number of 1.2 million jobs created or saved through the fourth quarter of 2009 — is the result of several factors, including the fact that reporting requirements only apply to about a third of ARRA funding and the direct spending parts of the stimulus requiring reports are moving slower than other portions of the stimulus.”

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