According to the Council of Economic Advisors, on whose staff Larry "Shadow Bernanke" Summers used to sit under the Reagan administration, has released an estimate of the economic benefits provided by the Obama Stimulus. Net result - without the Stimulus, Q2 GDP (which as readers will recall came out at -1%),would have come out at -3.3%, indicating that while most pundits were expecting the major flow through of Stimulus spending to occur in Q3 and taper off in Q4, the majority of the benefits from this program have already likely peaked. Whether or not this portens badly for future GDP estimates, we will have to see and wait. From the CEA report:
Estimates of the impact of the ARRA made by comparing actual economic performance to the predictions of a plausible, statistical baseline suggest that the Recovery Act added roughly 2.3 percentage points to real GDP growth in the second quarter and is likely to add even more to growth in the third quarter.
As for stimulus benefits for Q3, CEA believes that this will add another 3% in the quarter about to end.
There is broad agreement that the ARRA has added between 2 and 3 percentage points to baseline real GDP growth in the second quarter of 2009 and around 3 percentage points in the third quarter.
Furthermore, even though the economy continues to bleed hundreds of thousands of jobs each month, the stimulus allegedly helped create one million jobs. So absent the stimulus, unemployment (and not real unemployment, but the one CNBC uses) would be around 10.6% if not higher.
This analysis indicates that the ARRA and other policy actions caused employment in August to be slightly more than 1 million jobs higher than it otherwise would have been. We estimate that the Act has had particularly strong effects in manufacturing, construction, retail trade, and temporary employment services. The employment effects are distributed across states, with larger effects in states more severely impacted by the recession.
Bottom line: in the past half a year, GDP will have been beneficially impacted by over 5% thanks to an unprecedented Stimulus spend. What happens once all these effects expire is anyone's guess.