Along the campaign trail and through the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama has been consistent in his promise to create and protect millions of jobs. That promise is beginning to come true as funds start flowing directly to state and federal programs. Some relief should come quickly as all states and most federal programs affected are mandated to spend the money within two years of receipt. For example, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund gets money to each state quickly, with the majority of the fund earmarked for education, which will preserve as many teacher and professor jobs as possible.
The map and tables at ProPublica, which is one of the greatest resources on the web for analysis of the stimulus plan, prompted us to wonder exactly what percentage of each state’s unemployment problem would be hypothetically solved by the total stimulus package. Keep in mind that not all stimulus spending happens at the federal level, and states such as Michigan are using creative methods to breathe life into local economies by restructuring troubled state budgets and enacting business-friendly policies to attract growth. Further, as our recent Visual Guide to Unemployment showed, it is difficult to peg down the actual unemployment rates when the definition is expanded to include people who are underemployed or not seeking unemployment benefits. So, for the sake of consistency, we used the White House’s “Job Impact by Congressional District” (which has had its share of criticism for overestimating the new job totals) to determine the total number of new jobs created by state, and then compared those numbers to the total unemployed persons in each state. The result is a hypothetical percentage of each state’s unemployment that will be solved by the stimulus plan, and while of course this number will fluctuate based on upcoming layoffs, it at least gives a picture of how the proposed job creations impact each state’s current unemployment problem.
Click to enlarge the map above, and also see the table below for the exact data by state.
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Check out the clickable map at recovery.gov for links to more in-depth breakdowns at the state level if you want to know more specifics about how money is distributed in your state for each category of stimulus spending.