Why is Recovery.gov Still Referring to ‘Jobs Created’?

A recent blog post from Earl Devaney seeks to dispel several so-called myths involving the Recovery Board, but does little to dispel the notion that those operating the Recovery.gov Web site are woefully inept.

In fact, Devaney's defense for the ‘phantom' congressional districts (clerical errors), the claims that he reports to the Obama administration (they simply listen and adjust their thinking), and the complaint that Recovery.gov itself cost $18 million to overhaul (it might cost up to $18 million), make the operation look amateurish at best.

Couple all of this with stories of overly complicated systems involved in the stimulus application process, and inaccuracies in the reporting of supposed ‘two-time losers' - an error that prompted a statement of apology from the board -, and one can only envision those CareerBuilder monkey commercials from years past.

More troubling is Recovery.gov's insistence on using the phrase ‘jobs created' when tracking stimulus funds - as can be seen here on a report designed to show the viewer the ‘Most Jobs Created by State'.  This comes nearly three months after Ed Pound, Spokesman for the Recovery Board, told ABC News that, "...since OMB is not going to use ‘jobs created or jobs saved' anymore, we're not going to use it either."

The reason the Office of Management and Budget was distancing itself from the phrase?

Because it is impossible to track. 

The AP reported how the administration had to respond to its previous - um, embellishments - on the number of jobs affected by the stimulus package.  They also point out how the new method would actually inflate previous erroneous numbers, and subsequently explains why said method would make accuracy an impossibility.

In January, CNN ran a piece about the nation's first stimulus project.  The article points out that federal officials had estimated that the project would create 220 indirect jobs.  This, despite a statement from agricultural economist, Michael Sykuta, who surmises "that a single construction job normally spins off two or perhaps three indirect jobs at most."

An expert claims that 3 jobs are created indirectly at most, and the feds somehow estimate 220 - a mere increase of over 7,000%. 

Thus, reporting the addition of indirect jobs created or saved is equally as futile an effort as calculating those directly created or saved. 

Case in point, the numbers being touted by that first stimulus project.  In it, the administration provides an educated guess of 30 jobs created.  Then, the Recovery.gov site utilizes a mathematical formula to determine that the project may have created or saved 24.69 jobs.  But the contractor involved in the project estimates that the number of jobs saved was 10.

Review that last paragraph for a moment.  Not only are the numbers trending downward, but the terminology involved is designed to drive the numbers upward.  Here is the transformation simplified:  30 created → 24.69 created or saved → 10 saved.

Created, saved, funded.  Double-counting directly or indirectly created jobs. 

And still, the Recovery.gov Web site continues the dishonest theme by continuing to list these fuzzy numbers as jobs 'created'.

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