WASHINGTON States are already announcing the numbers of jobs the U.S. economic stimulus has helped them create or save in advance of a sweeping national survey to be released on October 30, and the amounts will likely be stronger than those in a similar report posted this week.
Vermont, Ohio and Illinois say the stimulus has created or saved more than 23,000 jobs total in their states through their shares of the $222 billion of grants and loans currently available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
That compares to the 30,383 jobs the government said were preserved or established through stimulus contracts mainly involving road projects in all of the states since the plan was passed by Congress in February.
This month marks the first in a series of quarterly reports on the impact of the two-year plan. Unlike other reports that relied on estimates, these are based on data provided by parties receiving funding from the plan's $276 billion direct spending component.
One of the largest portions of that component -- a state fiscal stabilization fund that also provided money for schools -- will be included in the report due out at the end of the month.
On Thursday, the U.S. government reported contracts for projects such as highway maintenance had created or saved 699 jobs in Ohio, 288 jobs in Illinois, and 22 in Vermont.
The states need employment help. In August, 14 states and the District of Columbia reported having jobless rates of at least 10 percent. In February, the month the recovery plan was enacted, only seven states had rates higher than 10 percent.
A coalition of independent watchdog groups say the site where the reports are posted, www.recovery.gov, is not giving enough information to check on the stimulus plan's progress. The nonprofit groups, such as OMB Watch and the Economic Policy Institute, are calling for an overhaul of the site.
"The jobs data should be viewed with extreme caution," the coalition, which also includes Good Jobs First, said in a statement. "Job totals will likely be too low and not comparable across states. Estimates of the 'cost' of jobs -- either in aggregate or for individual contractors -- will be inaccurate and misleading as well."
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, additional reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago and Joan Gralla in New York; Editing by Diane Craft)