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The 2009 Recovery Act: Directly Created and Saved Jobs Were Primarily in Government

Over one-half of the fiscal spending component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; i.e., the Recovery Act) was allocated via grants, loans, and contracts. Businesses, nonprofits, and nonfederal government agencies that received this type of stimulus funding were required to report the number of jobs directly created and saved as a result of their funding. Created and saved jobs represent, precisely, the full-time equivalent of jobs funded by first- and second-tier recipients of and contractors on ARRA grants, loans, and contracts. In this article, the author categorizes these jobs into either the private sector (businesses and nonprofits) or the government sector. It is estimated that at the one-year mark following the start of the stimulus, 166,000 of the 682,000 jobs directly created/ saved were in the private sector. Examples of private sector stimulus jobs include social workers hired by nonprofit groups to assist families, mechanics to repair buses for public transportation, and construction workers to repave highways. Examples of government stimulus jobs include public school teachers, civil servants employed at state agencies, and police officers. While fewer than one of four stimulus jobs were in the private sector, more than seven of nine jobs in the U.S. economy overall reside in the private sector. Thus, stimulus-funded jobs were heavily tilted toward government.

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