AP–Stimulus Watch: Unemployment unchanged by projects

A federal spending surge of more than $20 billion for roads and bridges in President Barack Obama’s first stimulus has had no effect on local unemployment rates, raising questions about his argument for billions more to address an “urgent need to accelerate job growth.”

An Associated Press analysis of stimulus spending found that it didn’t matter if a lot of money was spent on highways or none at all: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless. And the stimulus spending only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, the analysis showed.

With the nation’s unemployment rate at 10 percent and expected to rise, Obama wants a second stimulus bill from Congress including billions of additional dollars for roads and bridges ”” projects the president says are “at the heart of our effort to accelerate job growth.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

2 comments on “AP–Stimulus Watch: Unemployment unchanged by projects

  1. Br_er Rabbit says:

    I read this when it came out. I wish they had dug a little deeper than just massaging the statistics. How is it that I can see construction workers on the job building roads with stimulus money and it has no effect on the number of jobs available? Did the states just do work that they had planned to do anyway, and divert the funds that were replaced to other, non-stimulus government boondoggles? What really happened?

  2. Branford says:

    In many cases, yes, Br_er Rabbit – using workers already on the payroll. I know in California that has been the case. See here for info on how these jobs are counted by the government:

    The California state auditor rapped the state corrections department for reporting 18,000 jobs instead of just 5,000 officers who had received layoff notices before stimulus money came in. But under the new guidance, the corrections department may have been right because stimulus money is helping it make payroll for all its employees.