$222,222 Per Job Created by Stimulus?

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Photo: Emily Metcalf

BY MICHAEL RETHMAN – President Barack Obama is recently fond of claiming (among other media, Sixty Minutes on 9/23/12) that the recent recession was deeper than expected and eventually cost 9 million jobs.  He likes to follow-up with another factoid, namely a boast that he has since created 4.5 million jobs.

It’s worth recalling that Obama has spent well over a trillion dollars in various stimulus monies.  The Administration spent not only the oft-mentioned $787 billion from the first stimulus bill but also a lot more that was appropriated by a seldom-seen lame-duck Congressional session in late 2010.


So how does an additional trillion+ dollars in federal debt stack up in terms of jobs created? If one divides $1,000,000,000,000 by 4,500,000 jobs, the result is $222,222 of federal spending per job.

Recall that the average U.S. job (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011) pays about $45,200 (with the median lower).

So if each “newly created” job cost roughly a quarter-million dollars of deficit spending, where did the rest of our trillion dollars go in just over three years? And how productive and sustainable can Obama’s jobs be if they cost more to create than what they pay?

So why does President Obama tout these dismal results as if they indicate some sort of success?