CBO sees big job boost from stimulus

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The stimulus act added at least 1 million new jobs and possibly as many as 2.1 million jobs in the final three months of last year, and lowered the unemployment rate by at least a half a percentage point, according to a new analysis from Congress’s official scorekeeper.

“The policies that were enacted in the stimulus bill are increasing GDP and employment relative to what they otherwise would be,” said Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

But Republicans said the stimulus, which now totals $862 billion in new spending programs and tax cuts, has been good for government but not for creating private-sector jobs.

“If you’re a government worker or belong to a teachers union, the stimulus has worked,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas Republican.

Stimulus contractors say they’ve created about 600,000 jobs directly from the spending, but the CBO uses economic modeling to reach its conclusions. That accounts for the wide range of potential job creation.

The CBO also said U.S. gross domestic product in the final quarter of 2009 was 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent higher than would have been the case without stimulus spending.

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