not-so-“stimulating” statistics

The $787 billion economic stimulus package, passed earlier this year, was to create or save many jobs. Earlier estimates indicated about 30,000 jobs created or saved by the stimulus (in my honest opinion, a less-than-stellar number given the amount spent). However, an AP article found that even this number was “an overstatement!”

Now, one can spin statistics in many ways; how do you spin the numbers when they are wrong?

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs stated that the difference amounted to a “4,000, or a 5,000 error.” Out of 30,000, the margin of error (assuming the numbers were off by 4,000) is over 13% – certainly not a small mistake!

Below is a synopsis of the Associated Press’ review of the statistics:

Even in its limited review, the AP found job counts that were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of paid positions; jobs credited to the stimulus program that were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs that were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

More damning details are found in the article linked above.

While this synopsis certainly doesn’t look good for the home team, the catch is that the full data come out later today. Those numbers will certainly be telling; Obama and co. better hope that the full data – as well as corrections to the initial stats – come out in their favor.

As it stands now, the odds are certainly against them.

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