Effects of government stimulus remain a mixed bag
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created jobs in the fourth quarter, but was a mixed-bag for the economy, the Congressional Budget Office said in a new study.
The act was passed in 2009 to stimulate U.S. job growth, but data from the CBO shows the legislation having a slight-to-minimal impact on job creation in the fourth-quarter of last year.
The CBO says the stimulus funded more than 200,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the fourth-quarter of 2011, but that number could be higher or lower depending on extraneous factors.
"Tthe reports (on jobs) might have existed even without the stimulus package, with employees working on the same activities or other activities."
Furthermore, the government accountability agency said job reports on stimulus funds cover employers who received ARRA funding directly as well as those who had subcontractors that became secondary recipients of the funding.
Overall, CBO beleives the stimulus act raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by 0.2% and 1.5% in the fourth-quarter of 2011, while lowering the unemployment rate somewhere in the range of 0.2 percentage points and 1.1 percentage points last quarter.
The number of full-time job equivalents created from the stimulus in 4Q 2011 is estimated to be in the range of 400,000 and 2.6 million jobs. This particular figure varies from the total number of employed workers because it includes part-time, full-time and overtime shifts.
Still, CBO suggests positive developments from the economic stimulus diminished after the first half of 2010.
The agency said that "the employment effects began to wane at the end of 2010 and continued to do so throughout 2011," the report said. "Still, CBO estimates that, compared with what would have occurred otherwise, ARRA will raise real GDP in 2012 by between 0.1% and 0.8% and will increase the number of people employed in 2012 by between 0.2 million and 1.1 million."