The Oct. 30 update on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is based on
reports to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board from entities that have received stimulus funding, including states, local governments, and universities. The report deals with about $160 billion of the $339 billion in ARRA funds and tax breaks made available through Sept. 30, which is about 30 weeks after the measure was signed into law.
More precisely, the board says the $160 billion has preserved or added 640,329 jobs. The largest impact has been in education, with 325,000 teaching or other school jobs retained or created, largely through ARRA's direct education aid to states. (Here is a state-by-state breakdown of ARRA jobs produced or saved.)
White House officials estimate that if the entire $339 billion is factored in, the total jobs retained or added exceeds 1 million.
In announcing the jobs numbers, Vice-President Biden said he and President Obama "know full well that there is too much economic hardship remaining."
But Biden added that "we're moving in the right direction; we're starting to
make real progress on the road to recovery." He said, "The recovery act is
operating as advertised."
The next key indicator will be out on Friday, Nov. 6, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' report on the unemployment rate for October. The September numbers were not good--the overall national figure edged up to 9.8%, from 9.7% in August. A further increase for October wouldn't be a surprise.
The construction jobless rate remains much worse--it was 17.1% for September, which continues to be the highest among major U.S. industry sectors.
The GOP continues to criticize the stimulus, with the House Minority Leader, John Boehner of Ohio, repeatedly contending that the plan isn't working.
Obama met this morning (Nov. 2) with his Economic Recovery Advisory Board,which is headed by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Obama acknowledged: "We anticipate that we're going to continue to see some job losses in the weeks and months to come." He added that there is "always a lag of several months between businesses starting to make profits again and investing again, and then actually rehiring again."
Nevertheless, Obama said he is "confident that having moved the economy on the right track, that if we apply some good common sense... and reinvigorate that sector of our economy that's based on innovation and dynamism and entrepreneurship, that there's no reason why we're not going to not only create jobs, but the kind of sustainable economic growth that everybody is looking for."