Mark Binker at the Greensboro News-Record attempts to sort through some confusing reports coming from the N.C. Office of Economic Recovery and Investment (NCOERI).
On October 10 (yes, that was a Saturday) states had to report to the federal government about how they’ve spent their federal stimulus money. And reporters across the land said, “Hey, that report sounds useful, send it to us.”
In the context of his article, Binker links to several documents released to the media. Curiously, none of the documents have yet been posted on the NCOERI’s website. Maybe they just didn’t find the time to prepare the documents, format them, save them, release them to the media AND post them on their website for public viewing yet. Hopefully that will happen soon, but thus far it doesn’t reflect well on Perdue’s boast to improve transparency.
The most notable information contained in the reports is the claim about jobs “created or saved” thanks to the stimulus.
That document suggests that the 24,442 jobs have been created or saved by the stimulus spending piped through North Carolina agencies thus far.
As I blogged before, don’t believe the hype about job numbers coming from government press releases. Given that the stimulus spending was designed to target “funding for transportation and infrastructure directly targeting construction workers, thousands of whom lost their jobs in the real estate downturn,” it may be reasonable to judge the job creation claims – at least in part – by the number of people employed in the construction industry in N.C.
A look at construction employment in N.C. from February (when the ARRA was passed) to August (latest data available) shows that the state has in fact lost 13,600 construction jobs, or a contraction of 6.5%.
So if the very workers that were allegedly targeted by the stimulus funding are not being put back to work, but rather continue to lose even more jobs; how in the world can they claim that the stimulus has “created or saved” any jobs at all?
When it comes to government stimulus schemes and job creation, who are you going to believe: the political spinmeisters or your own eyes?