The Obama administration estimated that their stimulus package would “save or create” 16,000 jobs in New Hampshire this year, and spent over $407 million to do so. As part of their participation in Porkulus, each state has to report back to the federal government the number of jobs “saved or created” using an OMB formula that takes the number of hours worked from Porkulus contracts and grants, and divides them by the number of 40-hour work weeks from 2/17/09 (when Porkulus went into effect) and 9/30/09. The state of New Hampshire has reported the results after having spent most of the funds, and the result is dramatically less than expected:
In short, using the calculation the OMB provides, Porkulus “saved or created” 3,007 jobs. With the money spent on Porkulus until now, that comes to a cost of $135,450 per job — and that’s not even for a full year. In fact, using a full-year calculation, as New Hampshire’s Director of the Office of Economic Stimulus suggests, the actual number of full-time job equivalents “saved or created” drops to 1,862. At that number, each job will have cost $218,742.
Now Hampshire looks at the jobs that actually got “saved or created”, even with the OMB measure, and notices a pattern:
President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly known as the stimulus act, created or saved only 221 private sector jobs between February 17th and September 30th NowHampshire.com has learned.
And despite President Obama’s heavy emphasis on road and bridge repair during the debate over the stimulus, the measure has created or saved only 116 road construction jobs this year.
Indeed. In looking at the table on the last page of the report, it becomes clear that New Hampshire and the federal government directed the money primarily at politically sensitive government jobs. Over two-thirds of the jobs are in the Department of Education, and another 745 in “government services.” Directing the money there allowed New Hampshire to avoid the politically difficult job of downsizing and streamlining in response to the downturn in revenues during the recession. The White House can claim that they saved the job of teachers, police officers, and firefighters whose jobs were never in jeopardy, and New Hampshire avoided cutting jobs elsewhere by shifting the money to cover budget shortfalls.
Meanwhile, what happens to these jobs when Porkulus runs out? Almost none of these jobs are established on new economic growth. They’re either jobs that New Hampshire has to fund anyway (teachers, police officers, firefighters) or one-off project jobs that will disappear when the money does.
Even Democrats like New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter are having second thoughts about Porkulus as this becomes more obvious:
No, the money should have gone into the private sector, and the government should start cutting back dramatically to return to fiscal sanity.
Update: Porkulus “saved or created” 8200 jobs in Wisconsin, mainly government jobs that weren’t going to be cut, just as in New Hampshire. The Autopsy has the details.