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New stimulus reports to correct early errors

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 10:38 a.m. ET

An Associated Press investigation published Thursday finds that several recipients of economic stimulus money overstated the number of jobs created or saved with the federal funding. But the mistakes come as no surprise to close observers of the stimulus and the related reporting process. White House officials and outside experts always anticipated mistakes in the early stimulus reports.

Only fund recipients can correct their stimulus reports, but the onus is on the government agencies that distributed the funds to review the reports, catch any errors and request corrections. More than 131,000 progress reports on stimulus funding will be posted Friday on Recovery.gov, the government's stimulus-tracking Web site. Much of the data will include corrections to the first version of reports filed earlier this month. After Friday, any other corrections cannot be submitted for posting on Recovery.gov until the next reporting period starts in January.

Ed DeSeve, the White House point man on stimulus matters, called the AP investigation "misleading" because it reviewed "an initial upload of data representing just two percent of Recovery Act spending that was made publicly available before a full review of its accuracy could be done," he said in a statement issued early Thursday morning. "Virtually all of the errors found by the AP had already been found by our review, and were already corrected in an update to be loaded onto Recovery.gov this week."

Despite the administration's attempts to defend the stimulus, it will continue to earn the ire of stimulus skeptics because of the complexity of the confusing stimulus reporting process and the mistakes made by fund recipients. This all sets up the White House for sustained scrutiny and criticism about stimulus data that will likely continue to confuse the general public.

Starting Friday, Recovery.gov will provide stimulus data in .XML, .CSV, and .XLS formats, allowing good government groups, news organizations, and any other concerned citizens several different options for downloading the data for interpretation or web mashups on other Web sites. The administration will score points for providing the data in various tech-friendly formats, but the decision won't necessarily make understanding stimulus data -- or the confusing reporting process -- any easier.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 29, 2009; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Tracking the Stimulus  
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Comments

Today we see the true colors of the Obama Administration as Biden's admin defends the stimulus, bank profits and bonuses.

What a focking blind IDIOT! If these are truly the "Best and Brightest", WHY CAN'T THEY LEARN HOW TO INVEST ALL OUR 401KS AND RETIREMENT PROFITIBLY INSTEAD OF USING IT FOR HIGH RISK GAMBLING AND BEING BACKED BY OUR NEW CHANGE GOVERNMENT SUPPORTING THEIR HIGH RISK GAMBLING.

HOW ABOUT THEY START SHOWING A LITTLE RETURN ON ALL OUR 401K AND RETIREMENT INVESTMENTS IF THEY ARE SO GODDDDDAMMKMMM SMART!!

Posted by: Impeachbush99 | October 29, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I think that anything "new" is going to have some errors or kinks the first time it is utilized. If errors are continually caught and corrected, perhaps at the end of the process, we will have a completed and more accurate report. A website detailing how government money was spent was NEVER something available during the Bush Administration.

Posted by: LECknox | October 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Just more creative manipulation, deception and BS.

Posted by: riain | October 29, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

That AP report on the made up "jobs created or saved" figures is the least surprising thing ever. Almost nothing in the ginormous "stimulus" package actually involved sustained job growth. It was just a wish-list of Democrat pork projects and voter hand-outs. As the AP notes, many supposedly created jobs were double or triple-counted, some just involved giving raises to people, and many were simply imaginary. Moreover, when many of the jobs created are government jobs, you are actually causing a net LOSS because taxpayers have to pay for those salaries. What you want are private sector jobs that will expand the economy and also the tax base, not added bloat at the government level. It's economics 101.

And what's truly scary is when you factor in the multiple layers of government inefficiency, you come to realize that the taxpayers are getting soaked for hundreds of thousands of dollars for each low-paying, temporary $12/hour roadside brush clearance job created by some state highway DOT. We would have been MUCH better off if we'd just taken that $787 billion and handed it out to the tens of millions of unemployed. That would also have been an ultimately stupid policy, but at least the money would have gone directly to the people without losing 90 cents on the dollar.

Posted by: zippyspeed | October 29, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing how fast the Associated Press Report dissappeared from the front page of the Washington Post.

Looks like the Post got a call from the whitehouse and in order to get their daily head pat they scrubbed it.

Posted by: robtr | October 29, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

AP jumped the gun and its methods of sampling were far more suspect than the jobs report. The WH said long ago, if anyone bothers to read the prelim report from the CEA, that there would be errors in the early reports coming from employers.

The AP has become as 'yellow' as other reporting agencies-quick to screw up the information and make it into something it isn't.

Posted by: rrau22 | October 29, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The doubters of the stimulus plan keep using their faulty right wing math to discredit a program that is working. Without the stimulus, according to the creditable economists in this country, 3rd qtr GDP would have been around -2. Instead it was +3.5. There would be 1 million + more unemployed.

Of course the stimulus is expensive but the cretins who were running this country 2001-2009 put us so far into the hole, it is now necessary to pump air down to us, as the saying goes.

Posted by: rrau22 | October 29, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Artificial Growth. The Govt and Liberalism does not stimulate real growth. Only the market can. Cash for Clunkers and First Time Home Buyer Govt programs are now shown to be excessive in cost per car/house. Much more than the advertised credits applied. This quarters numbers are a direct result of those two programs. It cannot be sustained. Govt intervention only perpetuates the problem. Liberals are not fans of the Free Market. They are invested in a Bloated Intrusive Govt. They worship Govt Intervention. That is why they are always so wrong.

Posted by: FraudObama | October 29, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Liberals and the Obamanation, excuse me Obama administration do not deal in facts:
A: the current fiscal mess was caused not by the Bush administration but by Clinton and Barney Frank, et al who required, by law, that risky loans be made to people who were bad credit risks.
B: there is absolutely no credible information that the stimulus worked in any capacity. All the glowing reports of job creation and/or jobs saved is based on zero information and is overshadowed by the reality of nearly 10% unemployment, and still counting.
C: the stimulus package had very little to do with job creation. It was basically a pork bill that spends money on nearly 7000 earmark projects that have nothing to do with actual sustainable job creation.

We have a charismatic imcompetent in the White House who is a serious danger to the free enterprise system that made this country great. Obama, Reid and Pelosi have only one goal: more government takeover of private enterprise as explicitly stated by Barney Frank.

Posted by: ronvavra | October 29, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

where does the obama adminstration get off thinking that it can spend a TRILLION dollars within a month of taking power without any ACCOUNTABILITY whatsoever?

jobs "created/saved"?

self-reporting from industries and companies who have a conflict of interest in accurate reporting, since the better the stimulus looks the greater the chance their chance at sucking at the government tit will be extended?

what a bunch of absolute, unmitigated crap.

we need to measure these jobs in "days employed" so that a temp job lasting 5 days doesnt get passed off as something that actually helps families and the economy.

compelte crap from the obama administration. i am livid that i voted for this clown.

Posted by: dummypants | October 29, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"The U.S. economy roared to life in late summer", reports today's Washington Post.

Go tell it to all the folks who are being strangled because the total mismanagement of our economy by the silk and cashmere crowd on Capitol Hill and in The White House. And now they want to screw up our health care system.

The American people are angry, frustrated, have few options left, and TWP says that the economy is "ROAR[ING] TO LIFE".

Enough with the hyperbole. Hold the "leaders" on Capitol Hill and in The White House accountable. Only then will TWP and the media in general regain some of its credibility.

Posted by: JAH3 | October 29, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it weird how these positive GDP reports, jobless reports, error corrections, etc. always appear after the market takes a drop.

This adminstration sucks!!

Posted by: riain | October 29, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Having read both this article, and the initial AP report (which has not "disappeared" from the WAPO, robtr, but is linked in the above report in the very first line...), I'm wondering if some of the commenters here bothered to read either. The comments range from incoherent shouting (Impeachbush99) that have nothing whatsoever to do with the article - or anything meaningful - to misinterpreting the data as presented (zippyspeed). Some merely misunderstand the story, or the methodology of the program (dummypants).

The stimulus program depended upon legislatures and governors to identify needs within each state - neither Obama nor any federal official were involved with the selection of projects. States were given outlines detailing the criteria for selection of projects, and they (the states) were responsible for approving projects meeting the criteria and forwarding them to Washington for funding.

Clearly, the disparity in the reporting occurred somewhere between the agencies requesting the funding, or the state offices charged with approving them on the local level, resulting in the faulty federal data. Reading over the various instances of error, it's clear that the states didn't always exercise due diligence in approving the projects in the first place, or they misunderstood the mandate of job creation being the main objective of the stimulus program. Also not clear is whether or not deliberate misuse of funds occurred in certain states where the failure of this program, or any program this president proposes is seen as a victory for the "Party of No".

Posted by: borntorun45 | October 29, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

There's a difference between mistakes and LIES. Obama is a crook and the most corrupt US President in US history. IMPEACH this POS now!!!!!!

Posted by: askgees | October 29, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Reading posted comments show that very few contain facts or real knowledge of economics or what happened to our economy. Anger with rationalized data does not produce facts. Getting information from those doing the same produces anger and ignorance. This will not help our situation, just divide us and make matters worse by thinking that anger equals facts. The extreme example shows that infants don't solve problems by crying even if they get fed.

Perhaps the biggest fallacy is that free enterprise means completely unrestricted free enterprise. This only benefits the few richest most powerful people in the economy because this allows the most powerful to do whatever they want. Greed takes over. A human frality. NO religion would condone such actions. Anything in the extreme is bound to fail. Even Adam Smith , who wrote the book on free enterprise which he called laissez-faire, wrote another book on morality which is lost on the general public. Unfortunately if left unchecked, the most powerful show the most exterme behavior; infantile, or at least self centered, behavior. Insistance on pure free enterprise will produce failure, eventually a few "royalty" while nearly all of us are peasants. This is why the most sucessful economies in very recent history employ a little socialism, or even facism, to improve on "purity". As well as our stock market has done this year, nearly every other has done better. The USA used to be the best at most everything compared to other industrialized nations but now we are falling fast, becoming just typical. We need to switch gears and learn from history not try to write it ourselves.

Posted by: cliffrubin | October 29, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

This reporting has nothing to do with the government/Obama administration. Its the recipients of the funds that have overstated the number of jobs created/saved. The data on Recovery.gov is extracted from federalspending.gov in which the Recipients of Stimulus funds (contractors, grantees, etc...) report quarterly as to the number of jobs created/saved.

The biggest issue I have with the job counts is the methodology used to count them. The jobs are reported as FTEs or Full Time Equivalents which is based on number of hours worked, and not actual people. For example, the average worked doing 40hrs a week will work approximately 2080 hrs a year, which equates to 1 FTE. If you take that same person and they work 4160 hrs in a year, they will report 2 FTEs even though its only one person. This job creation methodology is not consistent with how the Dept. of Labor reports unemployment rates.

Posted by: moneymike79 | October 29, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I think that anything "new" is going to have some errors or kinks the first time it is utilized. If errors are continually caught and corrected, perhaps at the end of the process, we will have a completed and more accurate report. A website detailing how government money was spent was NEVER something available during the Bush Administration.

Posted by: LECknox | October 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Neither did the 42 Administrations prior to Bush’s admin. I swear LIBERALS are the stup1dest MF on the planet. On top of that they seem to think the rest of us are as stup1d as they are. They simply cannot tell the truth and will lie or omit facts to try and prove their point. PITIFUL.

Posted by: askgees | October 29, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Every thing is a dog and pony shoe,smoke and mirrors. It all is a big MEDIA show. Shows are fiction!!!!

The "SPEECH GIVER" has no HONOR what so ever!! All over every NEWS site is a PHOTO-OP picture of this man saluting a HERO'S casket!! This is a disgrace.

The " SPEECH GIVER" does not talk to McCyrstal for months it makes the news. Then what do we get a PHOTO_OP picture. LOOK at me I the "SPEECH GIVER" am on the job!!

This PHOTO-OP picture released today is DISGUSTING!!! The ONLY reason he was in Dover to greet these caskets was for POLITICS!!

LOOK at ME the "SPEECH GIVER" see I care I am not always golfing,fundraising,playing basketball,dancing, I the "SPEECH GIVER" care!! TRASH!! TRASH!! TRASH!!!

How many of our HERO'S have been coming home to Dover and the "SPEECH GIVER" picks NOW to visit, Timing sucks!!! PHOTO-OP, PHOTO-OP,PHOTO-OP!!

TERM LIMITS NOW!! FAIR TAX NOW !! and SEND IN THE DAMN TROOPS NOW!!!

YOU ARE A DISGRACE!!!

Posted by: 79USMC83 | October 29, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

AP jumped the gun and its methods of sampling were far more suspect than the jobs report. The WH said long ago, if anyone bothers to read the prelim report from the CEA, that there would be errors in the early reports coming from employers.

The AP has become as 'yellow' as other reporting agencies-quick to screw up the information and make it into something it isn't.

Posted by: rrau22 | October 29, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse


Does Obama give you a reach around???

Posted by: askgees | October 29, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

This reporting has nothing to do with the government/Obama administration. Its the recipients of the funds that have overstated the number of jobs created/saved. The data on Recovery.gov is extracted from federalspending.gov in which the Recipients of Stimulus funds (contractors, grantees, etc...) report quarterly as to the number of jobs created/saved.

The biggest issue I have with the job counts is the methodology used to count them. The jobs are reported as FTEs or Full Time Equivalents which is based on number of hours worked, and not actual people. For example, the average worked doing 40hrs a week will work approximately 2080 hrs a year, which equates to 1 FTE. If you take that same person and they work 4160 hrs in a year, they will report 2 FTEs even though its only one person. This job creation methodology is not consistent with how the Dept. of Labor reports unemployment rates.

Posted by: moneymike79 | October 29, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you posted this. Now we can put to rest the whole Bush/economy issue. After all according to you it's not Bush's fault it's the ones that LIED (Wall Street – Bankers). The rules don’t change because there’s a different person in the White House.

Posted by: askgees | October 29, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

LOL more to come folks
Isn't this entertaining enough?

what a bunch of reckless lying thieves

Posted by: rdb2 | October 29, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

The stimulus bill created as many as one million low paying jobs at a cost of only $800,000 per job. But at least Michelle and Barack are having fun.

Posted by: pkhenry | October 29, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

more BS from liar in chief and gang. everything is wonderful while this country is going down the tubes. entitlements,diversity,everything free to everyone that is to lazy to work,to stupid because they refuse to go to school , and scream discrimination for whoever and whatever their own crappy cause is.

Posted by: pofinpa | October 29, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

WHEY MAH CHECKS BE?? ODUMBO BE DONE PROMISE ME MAH CHECKS!!

Posted by: tjhall1 | October 29, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

After looking at Recovery.gov, I fully realized what a con this "Stimulus" has been. My state, Virginia, was awarded $366 million in funds. And.....(drum roll) has created 630 jobs. That is it. That is $600,000 per created job!

What a complete and utter con we have fallen for.

Posted by: Revcain777 | October 29, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Stimulus reports are written based on data selectively to emphasize any sign of achieving intended results. For example, any impact on creating jobs show net loses. Over 5 jobs lost to those created or saved. Americans are losing jobs hurtful to millions of U.S. families and concomitant losses of tax revenue.

As much as the press and Obama supporters would like to make things look good, they are not. Press release claims states report that 400,000 jobs so far this year were “saved or created” with $787 billion stimulus money. The saved category is marginal reflecting federal money to state government to keep employees on payroll.

To October 2009, 9 months of this year divided into 400,000 jobs is 44,400 per month while job loses are 450,000 to 250,000 per month. We have no net gain in jobs. Jobs saved or created hardly off sets the continued massive layoffs. Unemployment rates represent the greatest American tragedy of our day.

Posted by: klausdmk | October 29, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

AHAHAHAHAHAHA - This is like the WH, Lord O and the Botox Queen herself - Nan P keep dribbling out that 50 million people are without insurance when the number is actually 10s of millions lower.

Face it, the Dems are the experts at becoming in charge then dropping it on their short hairs.

Posted by: zendrell | October 29, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Notice the headline - "New stimulus reports to correct early errors".

If something similar would have happened under Bush it would have read "Bush administration orders massive deception of trusting public with phony jobs numbers."

Hey Ed - can you see Obozzo tonsils yet? If not, maybe you need to shove you nose up his azzzz a little further.

Without the support of scum bags like you in the media, this charade would not be allowed to persist and this simplistic imbecile would bounced on his head all the way down Pennsylvania Ave.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | October 29, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I suggested from the beginning that the administration's recovery.gov site be merged or directly linked with the independent 3rd party Onvia site www.recovery.org which offers a more comprehensive review, tracking and reporting on every stimulus project all the way down to the local level.

In the end, such tracking is only as credible as those who report the results and those who validate the results are. And I would suggest that to directly lay the fault for unintentionally mis-reported and/or intentionally reported false numbers at the feet of President Obama is simply nonsense.

Posted by: csfoster2000 | October 29, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I would like to know why the rules under your post a comment guidelines are not fully enforced? I have read some extremely hateful and violence-oriented material being posted on this site from the far-right NEO-CONS and it is truly disgusting to read their hate filled hyperbole attacking the OBAMA WH when anyone with even a high school education can figure out that the mess we are currently in was created and fueled by the inefficiency and corruption of the BUSH/CHENEY gang of thieves, liars, and plunderers making up the Republican party of "NO!" As for the health care reform bill, regardless of how much it costs and/or saves over the years will be a mere drop in the bucket of the overflowing flood of money that has been spent/wasted on the U.S. intervention of a civil war in IRAQ and the totally unnecessary war being waged in Afganistan. The two middle east wars have destroyed our country economically, spiritually and foremost in importance is the huge divide they have caused in liberal politics versus the party of "NO!" We are now closer to an all-out civil war in our own country than we have ever been since the Civil War. Why can't we disagree without injecting hate, fear, and violence toward our government. I hated BUSH/CHENEY to the very depth of my soul/being, however I kept my rage for that illegal/corrupt administration seething inside until I an opportunity to correct things became an option for me on November 4th of last year and I along with a slew of millions of others voted the bums out of office; sending a clear mandate to newly-elected President Obama that the country wants change in the form of becoming a more peaceful nation and a nation that is willing to speak to the enemies of our form of democracy. Obviously the rest of the world agreed with our desires because they immediately stood up with Obama and even bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize to future greatest President of our times since Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the "New Deal" 1930's and 1940's. In summation, I can only say that Obama hasn't even been on the job a full year yet, while the dastardly BUSH and CHENEY gang of thieves had a full 8 years to rape, pillage, and plunder this country. When the dust settles, the NEOCONS will be eating their words on how corrupt they think this administration is compared to the administrations of BUSH senior and BUSH junior.

Posted by: csfoster2000 | October 30, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

This isn't Obama's stimulus. It's congress's. Obama has been not much more than a cheerleader during his time in office on any issue, program or legislation.

Besides, he can always blame it on Bush along with his diaper rash.

Posted by: Auburninbp | October 30, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

It's funny that two days ago the White House was calling the Associated Press and complaining about their journalistic ambitions, for actually counting the jobs credited to the stimulus.
Yesterday, it was claimed that 4000 real jobs = 30,000 jobs for political purposes, by the President's left hand.
By all means, continue to believe that the depression is over...this administration is obviously as full of truth as the last.
Has anyone questioned them as to why the same roads that got fixed last year were getting torn up and redone again this year all across Michigan? They think we're all a bunch of idiots that can't see the forest...

Posted by: TheFreeMan | October 30, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Notice...the mistakes made in this country are always in the private or civilian sector...never in the government. Except for the fact that...the government is always the problem; always wrong, always late, always half-hearted, always delusional...and always pandering.
If you support this Administration anymore than the previous Administration, you are quite stupid. The fact of the matter is, Democrats wear black suits to lie and thieve while Republicans wear blue suits to lie and thieve...that's the difference between them...oh yeah, and their all-important stances on abortion (the one thing that no one agrees on is somehow an important issue in this land of retardation amongst healthy, educated folk).

Posted by: TheFreeMan | October 30, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The White House appears to be quite good at pulling numbers out of the air and calling them accurate. Last night I heard a clip from President Obama saying that 90% of small businesses won't have higher expenses under the health insurance reform bill. And yet, Congress has not yet decided what small business payroll level will be exempt, so there is no way Obama could come up with any percentage figure except out of his own head. But the dutiful press reported his "statistics" anyway. Oh, and watch out Washington Post. The White House has gone after Fox news and AP. Maybe you're next.

Posted by: sam38 | October 30, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, ummm, Obama, if you want votes next time around? keep it down about this job creation stuff. The millions of people that HAVE lost their job might not be too pleased with all the boasting...

Posted by: iamrta | October 30, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Probably most of the jobs saved will mean more "shakes'n fries" cooks to fuel America's food abuse epidemic. Sterling Greenwood

Posted by: AspenFreePress | October 30, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

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