Fox & Friends hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Alisyn Camerota seized on a recent Recovery.gov jobs report to falsely claim that the stimulus funded 600,000 jobs, which Fox & Friends then attacked as being inconsistent with other Obama administration officials' estimates of jobs having been saved due to the stimulus. But that 600,000 jobs figure is reportedly only for the jobs funded by the stimulus in the fourth quarter of 2009; the White House still estimates that the stimulus' overall impact has been about 2 million jobs funded, and that number is in line with other economists' estimates.
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Fox & Friends claims Recovery.gov stimulus job figures are inconsistent with other administration officials' estimates
From the February 1 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about whether or not all of this will help jobs, OK? Because that's obviously the number one priority in the country. We have some new information on what the stimulus has done. Remember the $787 billion worth of stimulus funds that were supposed to create jobs? Well, there's new information --and this comes from the government's website, Recovery.gov, over the weekend. They put out their latest numbers, and they say that almost 600,000 people's jobs were created or saved -- 599,108. Well, that's less than many people had hoped.
DOOCY: Well, that's less, Ali, than the president of the United States actually mentioned, and at his State of the Union address, he said that a couple million people were working because of the stuff they'd done. But as we have pointed out in the past, the folks at the White House are having a little problem exactly figuring out how many jobs all that dough has created. Watch this.
[begin video clip]
VALERIE JARRETT (Obama adviser): Just thousands and thousands of jobs.
DAVID AXELROD (Obama adviser): Now, the recovery act the president passed has created more than or saved more than 2 million jobs.
ROBERT GIBBS (Obama press secretary): Just last quarter, we finally saw the first positive economic job growth in more than a year, largely as a result of the recovery plan that's put money back into our economy, that saved or created a million and a half jobs.
[end video clip]
KILMEADE: Gibbs went on to say -- not in that interview -- but he says we're not creating the jobs we would have liked to in the stimulus program. But I think additional recovery stimulus money is important in order to gain and create an environment for small business. So he wants more money but admitted that the last money did not build. And we also know this -- and this might be something the president might have used to run from, he might embrace now -- that most of the stimulus money is not going to be spent until down the line, even though we needed it right away.
CAMEROTA: That's the part that doesn't make any sense. So why have another one when much -- half, I think -- of the $787 billion hasn't been spent yet, and the half that has been spent has only created the 600,000 jobs, if you believe the website. But again, it's a moving target, because you heard 2 million, 1.5, then thousands and thousands, and 600,000.
However, Recovery.gov's 600,000 figure reportedly only represents jobs funded in the fourth quarter
600,000 estimate reportedly only represents "the final three months of 2009." The Washington Post reported in a February 1 article that "[t]he Obama administration's economic stimulus program created nearly 600,000 jobs in the final three months of 2009, a figure in line with the administration's goals for job creation through the end of 2010, the White House reported Saturday night." It continued: "The new total was down from the totals reported for the previous quarter, partly because the administration decided in December to count only the jobs paid for with stimulus funding instead of estimating the number of jobs 'created or saved' with the money." Reuters and CNNMoney.com articles about the report also noted that the figure represents the fourth quarter.
White House: 600,000 jobs "represents just a portion of the job impact in the fourth quarter." In a blog post on WhiteHouse.gov, White House adviser Ed DeSeve wrote that the latest figure "represents just a portion of the job impact in the fourth quarter" but noted that "[t]he Council of Economic Advisers recently released analysis that found the Recovery Act is already responsible for about 2 million jobs." DeSeve also wrote that the 600,000 job figure "is right in line with our goal to create or save 3.5 million jobs through the Recovery Act by the end of 2010."
Orszag: Fourth quarter reporting "only applied to about a fifth of the recovery act funding." Later in the Fox & Friends broadcast, Camerota asked Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag about the Recovery.gov report, and he replied: "Well, remember, that reporting only applied to about a fifth of the recovery act funding, so when you scale it up, you're talking about one and a half to 2 million jobs created or saved as a result of the recovery act. So that's, you know, 2 million people who would be unemployed today were it not for the recovery act." Additionally, Orszag explained that the Recovery.gov job figures only "apply to a certain subset of the recovery act funding. It doesn't include things like the jobs created from the tax cuts that were provided under the recovery act or from other components that were part of the recovery act but were not direct discretionary spending that the recipient reporting requirements applied to."
Additionally, the White House's stimulus job numbers are "within the range of other projections," including Moody's, CBO
White House economic advisers: "the ARRA has raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by 1½ to 2 million." In a quarterly report issued January 13, the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimated: "As of the fourth quarter of 2009, the CEA estimates that the ARRA has raised employment relative to the baseline by between 1½ and 2 million. The CEA estimates for both the effects on GDP and employment are similar to those of respected private forecasters and government agencies." The report also stated, "For the third quarter of 2009, we now have direct reports on jobs created or saved from a subset of recipients of ARRA funds. These reports identify 640,000 jobs that would not have existed but for the Recovery Act."
CEA: Our estimates are within the range of other projections, including Moody's and CBO. Discussing its projection, CEA noted, "[O]ur estimates are within the range of other projections, though somewhat above the median." In its quarterly report, CEA cited figures from Moody's Economy.com and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as evidence that its "estimates are within" the range of other economists':