Friday, October 16, 2009

Job Program Found to Miss Many States That Need It Most

The new jobs reported Thursday come from a small slice of a sliver of the $787 billion stimulus program: the roughly $16 billion worth of stimulus contracts that were awarded directly by federal agencies, of which about $2.2 billion has been spent so far. But the preliminary data represented the first time that the federal government has reported actual job figures, and not just job estimates, and they provided the most complete snapshot yet of how one component of the sprawling program — direct federal contracts — was shaping up.

One thing was clear: while the federal contracts have created or saved 30,383 jobs, they were not directed to states with the highest jobless rates. Businesses in Michigan, whose 15.2 percent unemployment rate in August was the highest in the nation, reported creating or saving about 400 jobs. Businesses in Nevada, which had the next highest unemployment rate, reported 159. And businesses in Rhode Island, which had the third-highest unemployment rate, 12.8 percent, reported the fewest jobs: just six.

More jobs, by contrast, were reported in some of the states with lowest unemployment rates. Businesses in North Dakota, whose 4.3 percent unemployment rate was the lowest in the nation, reported creating or saving 219. The most jobs were reported in Colorado, whose 7.3 percent unemployment rate was below the national average that reached 9.8 percent last month, and where businesses reported creating or saving 4,695 jobs.

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