The Corner

Fiscal Policy

Fun with Job-Creation Numbers

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler has a good piece on the Biden administration’s claims that the infrastructure package will create “19 million jobs.”

This is based on a Moody’s report. The report estimates that the economy will add 19 million jobs by 2030 with the plan in place . . . but all but 2.7 million of those jobs would have existed even without the plan.

In fairness, though, a lot hinges on what the definition of “job” is. One way of approaching the question, certainly, is to ask how many extra jobs there will be in the final year. But it’s not uncommon to estimate job creation in other ways instead — such as in “person-year” terms, so that if employment is elevated by 1 million in one year and 1 million again the next, that counts as 2 million “jobs.” The administration could have gotten a pretty similar number to the one it ran with by summing up the Moody’s estimates over the entire time period, or by citing a Georgetown report headlined “15 Million Infrastructure Jobs.”

The deeper question, of course, is how much stock we should put into anyone’s guess as to what will happen when you have the government funnel 13-figure sums into infrastructure projects while dramatically hiking business taxes to cover the cost. I am not overly confident in such work.


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