Fewer, more expensive jobs projected from ‘American Jobs Plan’


Fact-checkers have started to notice the shaky jobs claims made by Biden administration officials in touting their $2.2 trillion American Jobs Plan. That includes this whopper from President Biden last week: “Independent analysis shows that if we pass this plan, the economy will create 19 million jobs.” That makes it sound like the American Jobs Plan alone would result in the creation of 19 million jobs — or roughly one in every nine jobs in America. Sound too good to be true? It is. As fact-checkers note, the real number of jobs projected to be created by the plan is far less: “All told, as a result of the infrastructure plan, almost 2.7 million additional jobs would be created over 10 years.”

In effect, President Biden and other administration officials have been caught crediting their latest plan with millions of jobs expected to result without its enactment. In early February 2021, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected the US economy would create over 6 million jobs between the fourth quarters of 2020 and 2021, stoked by the ongoing pandemic recovery and the bipartisan December 2020 stimulus extension law. The Biden administration then claimed its partisan February 2021 American Rescue Plan would result in another 4 million jobs during that same period. Those 10 million projected jobs and millions more are credited to the American Jobs Plan whenever someone suggests 19 million jobs would result from it — and by implication would not exist if it is not enacted.

That sort of exaggeration is certainly not new in a Washington prone to embellishment when it comes to stimulus job creation projections. But even if one ignores the recent sorry track record of actual stimulus job creation, the latest projections reveal something more telling about the American Jobs Plan. That is, that even its proponents expect this legislation to be far less effective — and far more expensive — at creating jobs than other recent stimulus laws.

As the table below displays, Democrats touted far more job creation at far less cost per job when marketing prior partisan stimulus plans than they now project from the American Jobs Plan:

Legislation Cost Projected Job Creation   Cost per Projected Job Actual Job Creation
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (enacted February 2009) $831 billion Administration economists predicted the legislation would increase payroll employment by 3.675 million by Q4 2010 $226,000/job There were nearly 7 million fewer jobs in Q4 2010 than forecast
American Rescue Plan (enacted February 2021) $1.9 trillion Analysis cited by the administration suggested the legislation would yield “4 million jobs in 2021 $464,000/job TBD
American Jobs Plan (released March 2021) $2.2 trillion Analysis cited by the administration suggests employment would be 2.7 million greater  in 2030 $815,000/job TBD

As the table shows, the chief economists for President Obama and Vice President Biden projected the 2009 Obama stimulus law would “save or create” 3.675 million jobs through legislation scored by CBO as ultimately costing $831 billion. That works out to $226,000 per job expected to be created — and ignores the important fact that employment ultimately fell nearly 7 million jobs short of what was projected during the period in question. In contrast, Biden administration economists suggested the February 2021 American Rescue Plan would produce 4 million jobs at a cost of nearly $1.9 trillion — $464,000 per job, or twice as much per job as the 2009 Obama stimulus law. It remains to be seen whether those projected jobs are realized.

But that past projected job creation seems positively robust and relatively cheap by comparison with what supporters now tout for the American Jobs Plan. As noted above, the latest “independent analysis” suggests the plan will create 2.7 million jobs over 10 years at a cost of $2.2 trillion dollars. That’s an astonishing $815,000 per job supposedly created by the plan.

It will be a decade before we know whether the job creation projected for the American Jobs Plan actually occurs. If it falls short, the cost per job could easily soar over $1 million. But even if job creation ultimately matches supporters’ projections, this ironically-dubbed “jobs plan” will still be unmatched in terms of its extraordinary cost per job created — and not in a good way.

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