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Monday, June 08, 2009

Tracking jobs created under Recovery Act could be tricky

How many workers does it take to steady a floundering economy? If those workers are getting paid through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Obama administration is betting about 6.8 million. That's the administration's estimate for the number of jobs created or saved over the next four years as a result of the $787 billion economic stimulus plan signed into law in February.

But documenting that number may require some fancy accounting. Ed DeSeve, special adviser to the president and the Office of Management and Budget for implementing the Recovery Act, said on Thursday that it will be up to fund recipients to estimate the number of jobs created or saved.

"We believe [the number of] direct jobs created should be defined by the recipients themselves," said DeSeve, speaking at a breakfast sponsored by the Association of Government Accountants in Washington. He noted that not all states define full-time jobs the same way, making it difficult to impose a universal methodology for counting jobs.

In addition, recipients of stimulus funds, which include state and local governments as well as contractors, may choose to rely on subrecipients or subcontractors to provide such data, DeSeve said. "We're doing our best to not require recipients to be in the verification business," he said, adding, "There is no incentive for fraud here."

-Katherine McIntire Peters, GovExec.com
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