CBO: Jobs Created and Saved By Stimulus Cost At Minimum An Average of $228,055 Each

By Matt Cover | February 24, 2011 | 2:11pm EST

President Barack Obama signed an economic stimulus law, now determined by the CBO to cost $821 billion, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on Feb. 17, 2009. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The jobs created and saved by the economic stimulus law that President Barack Obama signed on Feb. 17, 2009 cost at a minimum an average of $228,055 each, according to data released yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

In a report released Wednesday—“Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from October Through December 2010”—the CBO said it now estimates the stimulus law cost a total of $821 billion, up from CBO’s original estimate that the stimulus would cost $787 billion.

In the same report, the CBO estimated that in the fourth quarter of 2010 there were somewhere between 1.3 million and 3.5 million people who were then employed who would not have been had the stimulus not been enacted. “CBO estimates,” says the report, “that ARRA’s policies had the following effects in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2010: … Increased the number of people employed by between 1.3 million and 3.5 million.”

This estimate seeks to state the net impact the stimulus had on the number of people employed in the United States as a result of the stimulus, taking into account not only the new jobs believed to be created and the existing jobs believed to be killed by the stimulus, but also the existing jobs that were saved that otherwise would have been lost.

The CBO’s estimate that there were 1.3 million to 3.5 million people employed in the fourth quarter of 2010 who would not have been were it not for the stimulus represents a decline from the 1.4 million to 3.6 million people CBO estimated were employed as a result the stimulus during the third quarter of 2010. (See Table 1 in the report.) In fact, CBO now estimates that the apogee of the stimulus’s net job-creating-and-saving power occurred in the third quarter of 2010 when it believes somewhere between 1.4 million and 3.6 million people had jobs they would not have had except for the stimulus.

Thus, the $821 billion cost of the stimulus divided by the maximum of 3.6 million jobs the CBO believes the stimulus may have saved or created equals an average of $228,055 per job.

At the lower end of the CBO’s top job-creating-and-saving estimate for the stimulus—1.4 million jobs—the jobs would cost an average of $586,428 a piece.

In February 2009, when President Obama signed the stimulus law the national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January 2011, the national unemployment rate was 9.0 percent.

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