CBO report: Stimulus package saved or created as many as 1.6 million jobs

The stimulus bill enacted this year has resulted in as many as 1.6 million jobs saved or created this fall, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Monday evening.

The nonpartisan CBO said in a legally mandated report that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) had resulted in between 600,000 and 1.6 million jobs for the U.S. economy that wouldn't have existed in the absence of the stimulus.

Additionally, the CBO said, gross domestic product (GDP) was as much as 3.2 percent higher than it would have been in the absence of the stimulus.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf wrote on his official blog:

Looking at the actual amounts spent so far (where identifiable) and estimates of the other effects of ARRA on spending and revenues, CBO has estimated the law’s impact on employment and economic output using evidence about how previous similar policies have affected the economy and various mathematical models that represent the workings of the economy. On that basis, CBO estimates that in the third quarter of calendar year 2009, an additional 600,000 to 1.6 million people were employed in the United States, and real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) was 1.2 percent to 3.2 percent higher, than would have been the case in the absence of ARRA.


The White House had claimed in its own estimate of the Recovery Act's impact that the stimulus bill had saved or created roughly 640,000 jobs since going into effect earlier this year.

Republicans had attacked the White House jobs figures as "trying to cover up economic reality by manufacturing job numbers out of thin air" when the Obama administration released those data. Republicans in Congress meanwhile point to testimony earlier this year from a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) official maintaining it's virtually impossible to glean such an estimate of the true impact of the stimulus.

The CBO said that the White House's model for analyzing the stimulus was not comprehensive, and that its own analysis provided the best look at the impact of the stimulus so far.

Update, 1:23 p.m.: Vice President Joe Biden released the following statement about the CBO report:


This new report from the Congressional Budget Office is further evidence of what private forecasters and government economists have been saying: the Recovery Act is already responsible for more than 1 million jobs nationwide.  From independent economists to Congress’s own nonpartisan research body, the experts have spoken and the debate is no longer whether the Recovery Act is creating and saving jobs, but how we provide even more opportunities to drive growth and support American workers.  This early progress less than halfway through the program is encouraging, but we’re just getting started.  In the coming months, we’ll break ground on thousands of infrastructure projects, launch multi-billion dollar broadband and high speed rail initiatives and make critical investments in our nation’s schools and businesses through the Recovery Act that will help put America back to work and lay a foundation for long-term economic growth.