Oregon Study: Economic stimulus package did little to solve unemployment; state’s figures are distorted

Oregon Unemployment 2009 — Beginning: 9.9; Ending: 10.7 U.S: 7.79.7

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By Harry Esteve The Oregonian March 15, 2010 2:00 AM

PORTLAND — State officials boast more than 7,500 jobs have been “created or retained” by the 2009 Legislature’s trumpeted economic stimulus package, a feat just shy of the 8,000-plus jobs reported for Oregon under the far bigger federal stimulus program.

Yet Oregon reports spending about $93 million so far compared with $1.3 billion — yes, with a “b” — in federal stimulus spending in the state.

The state makes an eye-opening claim, and raises an obvious question: How did the “Go Oregon” package, as it is called, outperform the federal program by such a huge margin?

The short answer: It didn’t.

An analysis by The Oregonian shows that, on average, Go Oregon jobs lasted about two weeks and did little or nothing to dent the state’s bleak employment outlook. It also shows the state counted anyone working on a stimulus-related project as a job, regardless of whether the worker was already employed and in no danger of being laid off.

Furthermore, one in four workers employed in Go Oregon jobs was not a resident of the state. The analysis also shows a disproportionately high amount of the stimulus money was spent in Marion and Polk counties — two areas of the state favored by Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, who championed the measure….

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