“We definitely did not collect data on D.C. residents,” said spokeswoman Donna Henry, who noted that additional jobs may have been created apart from the data reviewed by The Times. “There’s also a lot of subcontractors involved.”
D.C. officials said that tracking jobs is not as easy as it sounds. One official, who requested anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak for the agency, said each department that receives federal stimulus funds reports its expenditures to the city administrator on a quarterly basis. That office takes the total expenditures and runs them through a formula to come up with the theoretical number of jobs created or retained for budgetary purposes, the official said.
“It doesn’t count actual full-time employees,” the official said of the formula.
At a recent D.C. Council retreat, a frequent theme among the council members was the need to encourage local business development and local hiring. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has made job creation one of his top three priorities.
Yet according to the data reviewed by The Times, the state superintendent’s office and the departments of transportation and environment accounted for almost half of the District’s receipt of federal stimulus funds and reported creating roughly 80 percent of its new jobs through those funds, but could not demonstrate the creation of actual jobs for D.C. residents.
The stimulus jobs-creation vacuum predates the Gray administration. Officials said they hesitated to alter the methodology of the previous administration, but The Times has been requesting base-line data from the District for more than six months.
The city administrator’s office said the District reported to the federal government that it created 12,709 jobs as of the end of the most recent reporting period, but officials concede that the figure is derived from a formula based on expenditures and does not represent actual full-time employees who are D.C. residents.
In an emailed statement, Mr. Gray said the District used stimulus funds to help the local economy at a time when it was needed most to create jobs, spur economic activity and invest in critical infrastructure that otherwise would not have been possible.
“The stimulus funding helped create thousands of full- and part-time jobs,” he said, adding that the District is “doing everything possible to get our residents trained and working in jobs for the new, technology-driven and ‘green’ economies.”
• Luke Rosiak contributed to this report.