New Year, Same Old Recovery Jobs Fight

By Robert Brodsky

The food fight about Recovery Act job creation has kicked back into high gear.

On Tuesday, the White House Council of Economic Advisers released a new report which found that the stimulus has added 1.5 to 2 million new jobs to the economy. Those jobs include indirect and induced spending from stimulus funds. In October, direct recipients of Recovery Act contracts, grants and loans reported that they had saved or created more than 600,000 direct jobs.

The Council's report also estimates that the growth rate of the economy would have been two percent lower if not for the $787 billion Recovery Act.

Republican critics, however, dismissed the numbers as propaganda. "What's the American public going to believe?" asked Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "Self-serving and deceptive numbers being put out by the White House on the stimulus, or the numbers that say we're at 10 percent unemployment when the Obama administration promised the stimulus would keep it below eight percent."

Meanwhile, a new report by Onvia, a market research firm that tracks stimulus contracting, argues that the biggest impact of the Recovery Act is still to come.

Onvia projects that only 25 percent of the $275 billion in stimulus contracts, grants and loans had been paid out by the federal government by the end of 2009. The firm expects a surge in infrastructure, energy and technology spending in 2010 that could lead to 1.1 million direct and indirect jobs from stimulus contract spending alone.

"Onvia's research reveals the true impact of the stimulus is about to be realized," said company CEO Mike Pickett.