"We began by passing a Recovery Act that has already saved or created over 150,000 jobs and provided a tax cut to 95% of all working families," the president said Wednesday night.
We wondered where the president got that from, given that the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 1.3 million jobs were lost in February and March, with dismal April numbers to come.
We were told by a White House official that the Council of Economic Advisers estimated the effect of the stimulus bill on employment in two ways:
One was to prorate the original quarterly estimates by the CEA of the effect of the stimulus bill at the time of passage ‘in a conservative way."
The second way was to use the data available on actual spending to replace the assumed spend-out rate. CEA then applied the same estimates of the likely impact of spending on output and employment used in the original calculations.
Both methods yielded similar results: 150,000 jobs.
This was not good enough for our friends at Factcheck.org, who say "the president’s claim is really an estimate of what his economic advisers think the stimulus bill is doing, and not based on any evidence of its actual effects."