2.4 Million Jobs Supported by the Recovery Act - and a Depression Averted

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  The annual report by the White House task force monitoring the impact of ARRA funds, led by Vice-President Joe Biden, finds that up to 2.4 million jobs have been created or saved in both the public and private sector as a result of federal recovery efforts. 

The Vice President's report describes the importance of state fiscal relief as a critical component of job creation efforts.  This includes supporting 300,000 education jobs across the country:

The money is allowing state governments to pay teachers (hundreds of thousands across the country according to reports filed from state governments), firefighters and police officers and is also preventing states’ budget gaps from growing wider.  And those hardest hit by the recession are getting extended unemployment insurance, health coverage, and other assistance to get through these tough times.  This money goes to state governments and families in need, without red tape or delays, and was designed to be the quickest acting mechanism to save our economy from the brink of a second Great Depression... And without these payments, those hurting the most in our country would have found themselves in even greater need, and our economy would have suffered much greater damage.

This is all the more reason legislators from around the country are signing onto PSN's letter supporting more state fiscal relief as the most effective way to continue to boost the economy.

Some of the other important accomplishments of the Recovery Act include:

  • 95 percent of working Americans saw a tax cut that immediately boosted consumer spending ability.
  • Money has been allocated to programs and projects ahead of schedule with unprecedented transparency-- with 160,00 reports from recipients on ARRA funds submitted and made public.
  • 12,500 transportation construction projects have been funded, while 11,000 bus and rail vehicles have been purchased with ARRA funds.
  • 12,000 cutting-edge medical research projects at research and educational institutions in states across the country have been supported.
  • Smart Grid funding is modernizing the electricity grid, including the deployment of 18 million smart meters and 877 digital sensors in the U.S. transmission system.
  • 143,422 housing units have been rehabbed or developed to create jobs and improve the living standards in urban areas of the country.
  • State and local governments have issued $70.8 billion in Build America Bonds to provide needed capital for school construction, water projects and infrastructure development.

The following map details the number of jobs created or saved by the recovery act in all states.

Source: White - Annual Report to the President on Progress Implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

As we have explained in previous Dispatches, the implementation of the Recovery Act has alleviated the severity of the recession, created jobs, kept millions of families out of poverty, and helped mitigate state budget deficits. 

Economists across the ideological spectrum have extolled the benefits of the recovery efforts.  In a September 2009 speech, Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, confirmed that, "[p]roviding $787 billion of tax cuts and spending increases [is] the boldest counter-cyclical fiscal expansion in American history."  Mark Zandi, former economic adviser to Senator John McCain's presidential campaign and chief economist at Moody's, finds that the Recovery Act was key to the 5.7 percent GDP growth in the last quarter of 2009.  Furthermore, he states, "[t]he world would be measurably worse if not for [the ARRA]... We'd be talking about a depression."

The accompanying graphic from the Economic Policy Institute highlights the dramatic shift in monthly job losses before and after the passage of ARRA. 

Source: Economic Policy Institute - The Recovery Act Worked

Council of Economic Advisers - The Economic Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Second Quarterly Report
Economic Policy Institute - The Recovery Act Worked
Mark Zandi - The Impact of the Recovery Act on Economic Growth
The New York Times - Judging Stimulus by Job Data Reveals Success
PSN - Take Action: Additional Federal Job Creation and State Fiscal Relief Needed
White - Annual Report to the President on Progress Implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009