Stimulus jobs in Wisconsin “wildly inflated”


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ferrets one out for us.

A stimulus job report that says more than 10,000 jobs were saved or created in Wisconsin is rife with errors, double counting and inflated numbers based more on satisfying federal formulas than creating real jobs, a Journal Sentinel review has found.

In one case, five jobs were mistakenly listed as 50 – and then counted twice. In another, pay raises to workers were listed as saving more than 100 jobs. And in another, jobs were listed as saved even though the money had not been received and no work on the project had begun.

The state swears it’s not their mistake. The numbers are all wrong because of volunteers if you believe what’s being explained.

Not very comforting.


  1. There was an incidence of a company that received stimulus money for a project. They were asked to fill out the survey on jobs created/saved. They replied with zero because they had the capacity to take on the project without employing any additional resources. The government came back at them and indicated that “you can’t say zero”.

  2. J. Strupp says:

    In the case you state, it’s not zero. Think about it.

  3. BrkfldVoter says:

    @JS: Is it your view that if a company accepts stimulus funds, then jobs at that company were created or saved by those stimulus funds? Think about it… a 3-month job? a 6-month job?

    Would you consider that the project may have included “casual overtime”… therefore not so much about “jobs saved” as “jobs slaved”?

    It is an observable impact of the current economy and impending Obamacare on many employers: they don’t want to add staff because of the benefits costs. So empty jobs go unfilled. There is staff shrinkage due to attrition. Those who remain work longer and longer hours.

    Stimulus is a bit like a sugar high, followed by the bloodsugar drop. In this case, the drop is well-anticipated. Employers are wise to not get too “high” on the stimulus $.

  4. J. Strupp says:

    Leapin’s example assumes under capacity. This under capacity may not cause an immediate layoff, but it will eventually lead to jobs lost that will be postponed until stimulus spending has run it’s course. The hope is that the private sector will pick up the slack before this occurs. At present, it won’t without the government spending. Stimulus is not meant to be a permanent solution to the slack in aggregate demand. It’s meant offset the collapse in private sector capacity until the private can resume growth.

    So to answer your question: 3 month jobs, 6 month jobs? Better than zero month jobs at present. That helps no one. Not the economy, not the government, no one.

  5. BrkfldVoter says:

    @JS: Do you know Leapin personally or know the corporate situation of which Leapin is speakin? Is it possible YOU assume the example speaks of under capacity?

    It appears you actually agree that Stimulus is a bit like a sugar high, followed by the anticipated bloodsugar drop, and that employers are wise to not get too “high” on the stimulus $.

  6. J. Strupp says:

    “They replied with zero because they had the capacity to take on the project without employing any additional resources.”

    Do you read this differently than me?

    Regarding your analogy, if you mean that stimulus is a temporary measure intended to create or save jobs by means of government spending, then yes I agree. If you mean that goverment stimulus is like drugs to an addict then, no, I don’t agree in that analogy.

    Employers are wise to hire the labor force necessary to maximize productivity. It should make no difference if that labor force is building bridges under the ARRA or manufcturing widgets for the American consumer.

  7. BrkfldVoter says:

    @JS: “Casual OT”

  8. J. Strupp says:

    Sorry you did mention that in a previous comment. That is a possiblility. If that’s the case, it’s also not sustainable to run as you say, “longer and longer hours” forever without employing additional resources. I think you would agree that you’d eventually see a drop off in productivity running guys 60 hours a week month after month. As seen in the last productivity numbers (something like 9.5%) it’s possible to do this over a short period but not forever.