Spin Me a New Job- Call it What You Want, Stimulus Jobs May Be Just That- Spin.

Travis's picture

According to an article published by the Associated Press- in Oregon, for example, lawmakers spent $176 million to supplement federal stimulus and Democrats take credit for creating over 3,200 jobs in the program's first three months.

Associated Press' Ryan Kost writes-

"But those jobs lasted on average only 35 hours, or about one work week. After that, those workers were effectively back unemployed, according to an Associated Press analysis of state spending and hiring data. By the state's accounting, a job is a job, whether it lasts three hours, three days, three months, or a lifetime."

With unemployment rising and many Americans struggle to make ends meet, the "inventive" math/language (to say the least!) encourages the urgency for politicians to show that stimulus spending programs are working, even if it means outright lying.  Or fudging the statistics.

Is anyone surprised at this?

States aside, at the federal level- Obama has been praising how stimulus has created some 150,000 jobs.  Now, how verifiable is this?  Will anyone ever really check and confirm this?  How real are these jobs?  What's your definition of a "job?"

About a dozen other States have launched their own stimulus packages and many others have them in proposition according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many promising job creation as the result of public spending. 

The numbers, the jobs, and how they're reported do, however, have to set a standard.  The White House does require states to report jobs in "full-time" terms.  For instance- a six month job "digging ditches for stimulus money" only counts for "half a job," but this would mean- the actual number of jobs reported, like in Oregon's case as mentioned, some only lasting a week- well, only a fraction of the over 3,000 reported.  Maybe a few hundred. 

While we can go on and on about good government bullshit, state stimulus and unemployment, but I have to run... I have a job to go to (thankfully for now...). 

I have a lot of friends who are out of work, and they're not finding any anytime soon.  Not at the state level, not at any level.  Part-time, full-time, they're out of work.  Count that as you will.  So- there is no stimulus in my immediate world.

When you hear of job "stimulus" well, it does do just that.  It's stimulating.  It sounds nice. 




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OrganicGeorge's picture

If you do not have a job, any work no matter how short is good.

Sometimes you have to take your Wall St mentality out for a walk to see the misery in the US.

You sound like the Repbulicians during the depression; WPA workers were not real workers.  Well it put food on the workers tables and gave them a sence of digdity that they could provide for themselves and their families.

As one of my econ prfessors used to tell us; When you read about unemployment, remember the person writing has a job.

Perspecitive is everything.







Anonymous's picture

Organic, I read your post three times and still don't get your point, unless it was just to bash Wall Street and Republicans. Yeah, that must have been it. Stop defending Obama. He is failing miserably and the worst is still in front of us.

zeropointfield's picture
zeropointfield (not verified) Jul 28, 2009 7:32 AM

Obama is not failing in an economic sense, it seems privately he is doing very well:

Obama agreed in early January to deliver the new book after he leaves office. The White House said he already had a deal with Crown Publishing Group to write another book, and agreed Jan. 9 that he would produce the book after his term ends.

Now tell me why someone who is concerned about his country and would like to serve a second term would sign a bookdeal 11 days before he comes to office that says he will write a book after his term? So Obama plans on doing only one term then.


The country is failing but Obama is not nor is any other member of this adminstration, it would appear. They are all doing very well moneywise and in the US this is the definition of success, isn't it.


Travis's picture

Thanks for reading (and clicking) George- but please elaborate on my (apparent?) "Wall Street mentality?" 

I like that, that's a good one!

The Depression... that was well before my time; however, my intentions were to elaborate- be careful what is being spun under the veils of recovery and stimulus.  Because, as there is indeed misery across the US- there's also people who believe the crock of shit they're being fed. 

I never questioned the viability of the work- just what duration and timeframe one thinks when they hear "job."

And as MY Econ professors would say- "a recession is when your neighbor loses his job...  A depresssion is when you lose your job."

That's the only Depression I care to worry about, thanks.




Anonymous's picture

-- What are your assets? (as in strengths)

"Well, I do own a bike." - Pam Venné, principal, The Venné Group

:) :)

Nice answers! We should all be so honest..

Anonymous's picture

It's not about how long the person is working that is the problem here. Yes, it was good that these people had a week of work and wages.

But when someone says they have created jobs, unless told otherwise, the assumption is that the job is for longer than a week.

Since the default assumption any reasonable person would make is longer than a week and everyone knows this, saying they created jobs without explaining the extremely short duration is deceitful, pure and simple.

Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

Organic, seriously dude,if eating organic results in soemthing like you just wrote, frak organic, I'll stay with my usual Nighttrain and fast food.

The point is, rather than creating REAL job, states are discovering "wow I can create a week long temporary position and declare it a JOB for gubermint statistic purposes!" WHOOPEE.

This is NOT stimulus with tax dollars, its chicanery!

PS- The only thing partisan about this article is your post trying to cause a partisan argument.

Anonymous's picture

Are you Michelle's gardener?

Anonymous's picture

They've just borrowed this practice from Europe, where statistics have been fudged like this for a looong time now (10 years or more).

Long time unemployed? Here's a free working skills update course for you, paid by county/state. Course length anything from 1 day to 1 month. After that you no longer are a long term unemployed but a fresh new jobseeker. Or how's about a nice 1 week job offering, sponsored by county/state, same thing.

It's all debt and deception at this point, ie green shoots. Nothing's true anymore but that doesn't stop the moneyed elite gobbling up any little piece of bailout (taxpayer money) as long as it lasts. Damn it's good to be a banksta.


DebtorShredder's picture

If you want a GREAT explanation on why game theory, statistics, economists, and mathematicians are killing us, take some time and watch:


"THE TRAP" by Adam Curtis of the BBC


It will be worth it.

Cheeky Bastard's picture

off topic, but please read this hilarious op-ed about Goldman Sachs .... it truly is awesome.. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=a2X3hNaWcbeg

Anonymous's picture

I looked for a job for seven months coming out of college before settling on the federal government. I've enrolled in grad school starting next year.

Cheeky Bastard's picture

Tyler or Marla, who ever reads this first ... can you do something about tracking the responses to the comments we post ... it's a pain in the ass to keep going trough all the old posts to see if someone replied to our comments ... can you mix something up that would facilitate the tracking .... many times i engage in some sort of discussion with fellow posters and it's impossible for me to track all the responses i get on my comments ... so, if it wouldn't be a problem for you, please do something about that ... i'm not being ungrateful for all the things you have done, but this would really be an improvement ... something like copying a comment onto our profile and provide the number of responses we get for that comment ... something like Market Watch used to have ... if you do it, I'll send you  cookies and a free location for your server on the NYSE floor ... many thanks 

Anonymous's picture

Guys you gotto see this Dylan Ratigan video on fed and pile of garbage:

Cheeky Bastard's picture

it has already been posted here ... just scroll down a lil bit and you'll find it, alongside  all the comments ...

Crook County's picture

I was sitting in construction traffic on Peterson Avenue in Chicago the other day when I saw this sign that read "This Project was Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."  It got me thinking, does the economic benefit of putting this crew to work (plus the cost of that ridiculuous sign) even outweigh the loss in productivity of the people sitting in the traffic the project created?

Seems to me all we got from the stimulus so far is a longer ride to work.

Anonymous's picture

I agree whole-heartedly with Crook County!

Road construction should ONLY be done when it doesn't interfere with Crook County's schedule...

Takingbets's picture

That guy is a clown, I remember him from the housing bubble blog.

Hondo's picture

I agree with the notion that there is no way they can measure the number (if any...actually it may have cost jobs) jobs stimulus saved.  More and continued loss of credibility.

Anonymous's picture

It's just a matter of time and function of desperation until the government includes BJ's in their stats. That said, being married almost forty years, I will leave it up to the young guns to provide the data. I mean six minutes is six minutes. It all adds up. Thanks Travis for another snippet of government misinformation.

fil's picture

I learn something new here everyday. Thanks Travis and ZH.

spekulatn's picture

Well done Travis. 



Anonymous's picture

My girlfriend went to a job fair recently. Nearly 3000 people showed up. To whittle down who really, really wanted the job - the interviewers made the interviewees do an improv song and dance (literally) about why they wanted the job so bad. First time where I've heard the EVILs of HR reach these levels.

fil's picture

I guess that's where the phase "singing for your supper" comes from. The interviewers should be fired and held to task.

Anonymous's picture

So help me god, if I had been there, I would have given one of those HR assholes a nice cockpunch. Wouldn't matter if I was down to my last nickel.

Anonymous's picture

Perspective might be something, but it's not everything. Having a job digging holes and filling them in again is ok for the guy doing the digging, and his supervisor and the politicians who can claim credit. But in the long run, all those kinds of jobs are doing is digging a bigger hole for the rest of us. Jobs of the 'keep-them-busy-and-feed' type should be listed under charity, not employment.