- Neighborhood Effects - https://neighborhoodeffects.mercatus.org -

It Isn’t Easy to Count Stimulus Jobs

[1]

Image courtesy of chrisroll

The 1603 program gave $10.7 billion to 5,098 businesses for 31,540 projects, according to the Treasury Department. Recipients were generally reimbursed 30% of their costs after projects were finished.

Those businesses claimed on federal applications that they created 102,883 jobs directly. But the Journal found evidence of far fewer.

About 40% of the funding, $4.3 billion, went to 36 wind farms. During the peak of construction, they employed an average of 200 workers apiece—a total of roughly 7,200 jobs.

Now, those projects employ about 300 people, according to the companies and economic development officials. Their parent companies employ many more, both in the U.S. and abroad.

This is from a lengthy and fascinating story by Ianthe Jeanne Dugan and Justin Scheck on the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal [2]. Keep in mind that this is only focusing on what Frederick Bastiat would call “what is seen.” There is an unseen side to stimulus spending which is the degree to which it crowds out or crowds-in private sector economic activity [3].