- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The stimulus law was responsible for funding between 1.2 million and 2.8 million jobs in the first quarter of this year and kept the unemployment rate lower than it would otherwise have been, the Congressional Budget Office said in a new analysis Tuesday.

The analysis said the gross domestic product, the measure of the country’s economy, was between 1.7 and 4.2 percent higher than it would otherwise have been without the $862 billion program, which passed Congress in February 2009 almost exclusively on the strength of Democratic votes.

As for unemployment, even though the rate hovered around 10 percent during the quarter, CBO said that could have been as high as 11.5 percent without the stimulus.

CBO said the stimulus’s effects will peak this year and then shrink next year, and fade away by the end of 2012.

The agency’s figures are slightly better than its previous estimate three months ago, and the analysts said the boost was due to fast-than-expected spending.

CBO’s analysis was based on economic modeling derived from past spending and tax-cut programs, which means its calculations are an estimate of what is going on, not an actual count of specific jobs created.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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