TWO careful studies have looked at the relationship between this formulaic spending and employment. Both find that states that received more money fared substantially better. This is the strongest direct evidence that the Recovery Act contributed to employment growth. Based on the estimated size of the effect, the studies suggest that the act created more than three million jobs.
Another study using a related method finds noticeably smaller effects. Even it, however, suggests that about a million jobs were created, and that estimate doesn’t include the effects of the act’s tax cuts.
In addition to its near-term jobs effects, the Recovery Act may also be having more lasting benefits. It’s too early to measure the value of the roads, bridges and airports improved through stimulus funds. But a survey of influential studies looking at highway construction in the 1950s and ’60s suggests that such investments contribute substantially to long-term growth.