New Reports Detail Recovery Act Programs and Job Creation

The education, homeless assistance, and career development sectors all got a significant boost from Recovery Act funds in the last quarter of 2009, according to reports released on Recovery.gov. More than 28,000 jobs were created or saved between October and the end of the year due to contracts and grants stemming from the Recovery Act, with a majority of those jobs created by grants for education entities, including Head Start and Early Head Start programs and special education. The reports cover only grants, contracts, and loans during the last quarter of 2009, so they do not include economic activity created by the tax breaks, entitlements, and unemployment insurance contained in the Recovery Act.

Keep reading for more on the jobs, the data, and the programs.

Texas created more jobs than all but three states during the last quarter of Recovery Act spending, an improvement from its tenth-place finish in the first round of reporting.  The single largest Recovery Act job creator in Texas last quarter was the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a pot of more than $3 billion that was allocated to improve educational outcomes and equality while ensuring that no services were cut because of state and local budget gaps. More than 12,000 teachers, administrators, and others had their jobs saved or created during the reporting period. Other funding streams dedicated to education were responsible for thousands more jobs; for example, 250 jobs were spread across 50 Head Start and Early Head Start programs across the state.

When the first reports came out last October, we highlighted Department of Labor (DOL) programs that had created almost 5,800 jobs to that point, many of which were green jobs. Similar data is found in these latest reports, with DOL work programs, Work-Study placements, and Americorps expansions combining to connects thousands more people with good jobs. The AmeriCorps projects are funding hundreds of people as they engage in community service in locations across the state, doing work with homeless populations, helping kids prepare for college, and enhancing literacy.

The data was compiled in a new way this time around, as recipients were instructed to add up all of the hours spent on Recovery Act projects rather than counting each job individually. The new method was meant to make the process simpler and less subjective. Accuracy is still a concern, as it was in the initial round of reports. For instance, while 3,191 enitities filed reports for this period, only 1,255 reported creating at least one job. The remaining 1,936 entities collected more than $847 million for a range of projects, yet they reported either zero job creation or fractions of a job. While many of those projects have yet to get under way and many more involved little more than purchasing new equipment or supplies, a number of them have simply been misreported. For example, one road construction project underway in Bryan received more than $670,000 and lists a number of positions—including superintendents, truck drivers, and carpenters—that are being filled due to Recovery Act funds, but its job creation column still says zero. Instances such as this are bound to create underreporting and overreporting, but the data overall is a fairly accurate count of spending and job creation throughout the state.

Texas Impact continues to connect people with Recovery Act benefits while advocating for transparency and accountability as funds are spent.