Via Katie Pavlich, a study by researchers at the University of Western Ontario and Ohio State University’s Economics Department has found that the Obama stimulus plan needed a third stat to go along with jobs “created” or “saved”: Jobs killed.
We estimate the Act created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs. State and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases (Fig. A) rather than boost private sector employment (e.g. Fig. B). The majority of destroyed/forestalled jobs were in growth industries including health, education, professional and business services. Searching across alternative model specifications, the best-case scenario for an effectual ARRA has the Act creating/saving a net 659 thousand jobs, mainly in government.
So if you’re doing the math, that’s a net loss of 550,000 jobs. But the porkulus was actually more damaging than just the raw numbers imply, since government sector jobs depend ultimately on a thriving private sector. Additionally, the study found that all the talk of pouring stimulus money into “shovel ready” projects was so much hot air: Infrastructure employment has sharply decreased since the stimulus was passed.