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One In Six Stimulus Jobs Does Not Exist

Some investigative reporting from, of all places, the Associated Press:

Stimulus jobs overstated by thousands

By Brett J. Blackledge And Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON – A Colorado company said it created 4,231 jobs with the help of President Barack 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 government has overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved with federal contracts under the president’s $787 billion recovery program, according to an Associated Press review of data released in the program’s first progress report.

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 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.

The White House says it is aware there are problems. In an interview, Ed DeSeve, an Obama adviser helping to oversee the stimulus program, said agencies have been working with businesses that received the money to correct mistakes. Other errors discovered by the public also will be corrected, he said…

Within minutes of the publication of AP’s story, the White House released a statement that it said was the "real facts" about how jobs were counted in the stimulus data distributed two weeks ago. It said 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."

As of early Thursday, on its recovery.org 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

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…

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

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

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

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

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

The number of jobs should be zero, Light said. The 280 count represents the number of students who would benefit, [Mike Light, spokesman for the Technical College System of Georgia] 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

If the Obama administration will lie with such impunity about this, what else will they lie about?

Mind you:

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.

By the way, look at the kind of jobs the ‘stimulus money’ went to:

  • 1,000 jobs in call centers fielding questions about television converter boxes,
  • 25 jobs helping people make the conversion to digital TV.
  • Money for raises for 129 people at a child care center.

Indeed, there was only one job mentioned that sounded anything at all like the promised infrastructure improvements — the 125 jobs created to lay railroad tracks.

But it does seem appropriate that Obama official overseeing all of this is named DeSeve, which to us sounds a lot like ‘deceive.’

(Thanks to everyone who posted this or sent it in.)

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, October 29th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

16 Responses to “One In Six Stimulus Jobs Does Not Exist”

  1. canary

    AP IMPACT: Stimulus jobs overstated by thousands
    By AP Writers Brett J. Blackledge And Matt Apuzzo Oct 29 2009

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

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200.....BhY3RzdGlt

    Everyone Obama appointed couldn’t do math, to begin with. How are these companies going to report taxes of their employee’s? 0, 2, 10 times? OBAMA HAS FAILED AMERICA. He should be fired. He should not get paid, but pay back all those suspicious trips to Colorado.
    What’s a big Donkey party? A big Jack-ass party.
    Maddoff may be a saint compared to Obama.

  2. Rusty Shackleford

    From a yet-again shocked AP:

    AP IMPACT: Stimulus jobs overstated by thousands

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200.....mulus_jobs

    By Brett J. Blackledge And Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press Writers

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

    What’s this? The Obama administration fabricating results? Say it isn’t so! Where’s my program?…..This wasn’t in the brochure!

    • canary

      Knock on wood, you owe me a coke. 1:50. Just think Rusty out of billions of people, you and I clicked the same second. :)

    • BillK

      Oh, it gets better.

      From Fox News:

      White House Blasts AP for Stimulus Jobs Report

      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 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.

      The White House, however, says it is aware there are problems. In an interview, DeSeve, said agencies have been working with businesses that received the money to correct mistakes. Other errors discovered by the public also will be corrected, he said.

      “If there’s an error that was made, let’s get it fixed,” DeSeve said. …

      http://www.foxnews.com/politic.....thousands/

      The AP had better be careful that it too isn’t branded “not a valid news organization” by the White House…

  3. ilzito guacamolito

    ~ But it does seem appropriate that Obama official overseeing all of this is named DeSeve, which to us sounds a lot like ‘da sieve.’ ~

    That’s funny! I on the other hand thought it might rhyme with ‘deceive’.

  4. Petronius

    Long division may be a subject lost on the AP and its readers.

    However, readers of S&L may find these simple calculations of interest.

    Assuming that the AP’s estimate is correct, and that the massive $787B Stimulus has created at most 25,000 jobs, the cost of those jobs is about $31,480,000 each.

    Assuming that the White House numbers are correct, and the Stimulus has created 30,000 jobs, the cost of each of those jobs would be about $26,330,000.

    Either outcome obviously represents a colossal and unprecedented waste of the country’s resources. A waste that will set the country back on its heels for years, perhaps decades.

    Perhaps that is what is meant by hope and change. However, mindless insanity and wanton destruction would be a better description.

    According to the AP, the White House now foresees the possibility of generating “hundreds of thousands of jobs.” To be generous, let us assume that there will eventually be 1M new jobs from the Stimulus. If so, the cost of each job would still be $787,000.

    Even assuming that somehow the White House ultimately achieves its original goal of “creating or saving” 3.5M jobs, that still works out to a cost of $225,000 per job.

    However, these sunny forecasts would now seem to be beyond reach. Thus White House chief economist Christina Romer testified to Congress last week predicting that the Stimulus “will likely be contributing little to growth” next year.

    As canary aptly notes, Bernie Madoff may be a saint compared to Obama. Madness.

    • Right of the People

      It’s the new math I tell you. I wish I had even the paltry sum of $225,000.00 of one of the 3.5 million jobs!

      Where do I gets me one of dese stimulatin’ jobs, boss?

  5. proreason

    What contempt they hold for Americans.

    To even mention 30,000 jobs proves without a doubt that they consider us to be beyond stupid.

  6. Reality Bytes

    “Shovel Ready” (e.g. all the bullshit that comes from Washington). Bring yours next Tuesday. They’re stinkin’ up the place!

  7. GL0120

    What is wrong with you people, questioning The Chosen One’s pronouncements?

    The appropriate response is always – “Obama said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”

    Now hush and drink your Kool Aid.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Only if you say it with reverb, a KOOL menthol baritone and a hard “S”.

      (And don’t forget your teleprompter.)

  8. GL0120

    Is it my imagination or are his teleprompters set higher than normal?
    This gives the effect that he’s so noble, so god-like, as he peers out over the audience.
    His policies are a fraud, his projections are a fraud, he’s a fraud.

  9. VMAN

    Cooked the books on stimulus jobs just like they cooked the books on a 3.5 percent increase in GDP. Does anyone really believe that happened either.

  10. Chuckk

    Government statistics are slanted and inaccurate. I am shocked!!

  11. MinnesotaRush

    … and he got the Olympics, too.

    Didn’t sign any legislation with pork .. no lobbyists in his administration .. blah, blah, blah, blah!

  12. Liberals Demise

    This coming from the a$$holes who want to be the national proctologist and medical advisers.

    Don’t let these people anywhere near your bank account with a tongue depressor.


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