The president and vice president met with Cabinet officials yesterday to discuss accelerating economic recovery efforts in the next 100 days, including ambitious plans to create or save 600,000 so-called stimulus jobs within that timeframe.
During the meeting, Vice President Joe Biden outlined the ten most-significant projects intended to create or save the 600,000 stimulus jobs in 100 days, per a new inititiative he coined as the “Roadmap to Recovery”.
The ten Roadmap to Recovery projects are summarized below.
- Enable 1,129 Health Centers in 50 States and 8 Territories
- Begin Work on Rehabilitation and Improvement of 98 Airports and 1,500+ Highways
- Fund 135,000 Education Jobs
- Begin Improvements at 90 Veterans Medical Centers
- Hire or Keep on the Job Approximately 5,000 Law Enforcement Officers
- Start 200 New Waste and Water Systems in Rural America
- Begin Work on 107 National Parks
- Begin or Accelerate Cleanup Work at 20 Superfund Sites
- Create 125,000 Summer Youth Jobs
- Initiate 2,300 Construction and Rehabilitation Projects at 359 Military Facilities
As you might have guessed, the vice president’s Roadmap to Recovery is not without its critics; for example, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Biden’s 600,000-jobs figure is “pure fiction” and can’t possibly be measured, as no government agency tracks “jobs saved”.
Other critics have indicated that the soaring unemployment rate, which hit 9.4 percent in May and the highest in almost 26 years, is evidence that the president’s economic stimulus plan, officially referred to as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), simply isn’t working when it comes to so-called stimulus jobs, whether created or saved.
President Obama claims that he created or saved over 150,000 jobs in the first 100 days after signing the ARRA. However, the Wall Street Journal article counterclaims that “our economy has lost nearly 1.6 million jobs” since Congress approved Obama’s economic stimulus plan, in which the president initially promised to save or create three million jobs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported this morning that job openings in the U.S. numbered 2.5 million at the end of April, which was the lowest level since the BLS started tracking the number in December 2000.
Regardless, the president stood firmly behind his economic stimulus plan, stating:
“Now I know that there are some who, despite all evidence to the contrary, still don’t believe in the necessity and promise of this Recovery Act, and I would suggest to them that they talk to the companies who, because of this plan, scrapped the idea of laying off employees and in fact decided to hire employees.”
“Tell that to the Americans who receive that unexpected call saying, come back to work. Tell it to the Americans poised to benefit from critical investments that this plan makes in our long-term growth and prosperity.”
You can likely find stimulus jobs that exist near where you live, through the local unemployment office, One-Stop Career Center and other usual employment sources, such as classified ads and job banks. However, the opportunities might not be referred to as “stimulus jobs” per se. Stimulus jobs is just a voguish term generally used to indicate employment opportunities, including the ordinary, that employers create or save using Recovery-Act funding.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, referred to as the Recovery Act, Stimulus Act or Stimulus Bill for short, provides for a 65-percent COBRA subsidy to help unemployed workers continue their employer-provided group health insurance benefits. It also provides for additional unemployment
benefits of significance.