CBO: Stimulus created as many as 2.1 million jobs

The federal stimulus act created between 1 million and 2.1 million jobs in the final portion of 2009, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released Tuesday.

In addition, the nonpartisan CBO estimated that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) helped boost the gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent over the baseline had the bill not been enacted during the fourth quarter of 2009.

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"Economic output and employment in 2009 were lower than CBO had projected at the time of enactment," CBO economists said in a Director's Blog post. "But in CBO’s judgment, that outcome reflects greater-than-projected weakness in the underlying economy rather than lower-than-expected effects of ARRA."

The report is a win for Democrats on Capitol Hill and the White House, who have long touted the stimulus act's ability to create jobs. Various White House officials have said that the bill has created between 1.5 and 2 million jobs.

Still, many Republicans have said that the stimulus has not created any jobs, citing consistent job losses and high unemployment during the first year of its existence.

The CBO projects the stimulus will kick into higher gear in 2010, boosting GDP by between 1.4 and 4 percent and tamping down the unemployment rate by between 0.7 and 1.8 percent.

Lawmakers and the public remain worried about unemployment that remains at nearly 10 percent. Congress is currently working to pass an additional jobs bill and extend some stimulus provisions such as added unemployment benefits and aid for state governments.

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