Monday, November 02, 2009

schools are where stimulus saved jobs

NYTimes | The best symbol of the $787 billion federal stimulus program turns out not to be a construction worker in a hard hat, but rather a classroom teacher saved from a layoff.

On Friday, the Obama administration released the most detailed information yet on the jobs created by the stimulus. Of the 640,239 jobs recipients claimed to have created or saved so far, officials said, more than half — 325,000 — were in education. Most were teachers’ jobs that states said were saved when stimulus money averted a need for layoffs.

Although the stimulus was initially sold in large part as a public works program, only about 80,000 of the jobs that were claimed Friday were in construction.

Of course, counting jobs that were saved can be a squishier proposition than counting jobs that were created. Teachers have been laid off in some areas — and budget officials say that there would have been more layoffs without the stimulus money — but it is difficult to say with certainty how many teachers would have been laid off without that money.

Indiana, for example, reported saving or creating 13,232 education jobs with its stimulus money, but Cris Johnston, the director of the government efficiency division of the state budget office, said that it was difficult to say whether the state would have actually lost those jobs without the money.