StateImpact
11:00 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Has The Stimulus Worked? The Debate Over Job Creation In NH Continues

As the clock winds down on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka: “The Stimulus Package”), it remains a controversial–and highly politicized–initiative.  This week, Grant Bosse of the conservative/libertarian New Hampshire Watchdog* project stoked the Granite State stimulus debate on the organization’s website.

Using data from the federal stimulus-tracking website, Bosse ran some figures and determined that with $985.7 million in New Hampshire funding, only 845 full-time jobs have been created.  That’s a cost of more than $1.1 million for each job.  Bosse notes this is a sharp contrast to the Obama Administration’s original promise to “create or save” 16,000 jobs in the Granite State:

“Most of New Hampshire’s stimulus funds went to jobs that were already filled and unlikely to go away. The largest block of jobs funded in New Hampshire first quarterly report in 2009 were for education grants to local school districts that replaced state funds. New Hampshire used that federal money to help balance a growing budget deficit, but did not create or save any jobs with it.

The Obama Administration soon abandoned tracking the number of jobs ‘created or saved,’ and instead reported the number of jobs funded by the stimulus, dividing the hours paid for with federal funds by the number of hours and weeks that ARRA had been in effect. Since many of the jobs funded under the program are no longer receiving funds or no longer exist, the number of jobs funded in New Hampshire has plummeted. The New Hampshire Office of Economic Stimulus reported that 3,522 jobs were funded in the third quarter of 2009. But over the life of the program, ARRA has paid for just 845.6 full-time jobs.”

As we’ve noted in a previous post, Bosse isn’t the first person to calculate job creation costs by dividing the number of jobs by the overall stimulus spending.  Many major media outlets over the years have done the same.  And the Obama Administration has hotly disputed this methodology.  But the Union-Leader takes another tack in analyzing Bosse’s figures calculated from recovery.gov information:

“The website makes no mention of the cost per job, and data show far more jobs created in New Hampshire during the life of the stimulus program.

As the three-year stimulus program started to draw to a close last year, federal checks to New Hampshire slowed. With that, the number of jobs funded by the program fell, to 845 in the final quarter of last year.

Bosse’s calculation links three years of stimulus awards — $985.7 million — to the 845 jobs, a calculation that works out to $1.1 million per job.

During its peak, however, stimulus spending funded more than 1,300 jobs for five straight quarters, including 2,337 in the third quarter of 2010, recovery.gov reported.”

No matter your opinions on the stimulus, we highly recommend you check out the New Hampshire summary section of recovery.gov.  There are lots of great interactive maps and charts that will allow you to delve into some of the nitty-gritties of who got federal contracts, how big those contracts were, and (of course) job creation estimates.  For the Sparknotes version, we’ve re-purposed the site’s data on stimulus money awarded to New Hampshire and the estimated number of jobs created.

Stimulus Funding In NH

Estimated Stimulus-Created Jobs In NH

*New Hampshire Watchdog is a project of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.

**The jobs data on recovery.gov includes decimal points. Some of those numbers are inconsistently rounded up or down on the site. We are using standard number rounding, counting an additional job when numbers provided are .5 or higher.

***The federal data on recovery.gov also lumps these three quarters together.

Copyright 2012 StateImpact New Hampshire. To see more, visit http://stateimpact.npr.org/new-hampshire/.