White House says stimulus created or saved 650,000 jobs

President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan has directly created or saved more than 650,000 jobs, the White House said Friday, and is “solidly on track” to meet its goal of 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.

The number released Friday is based on reports filed by businesses, state and city governments and other entities. It doesn’t include jobs created indirectly by tax cuts, unemployment benefits and aid to states.

White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein said that the reports confirm administration estimates that the stimulus has created a total of more than1 million jobs.

“Since that 650,000 is based off of about half the bucks at work in the economy so far, you can double it to get a rough estimate of the total jobs impact so far, getting you to over a million jobs, saved or created,” Bernstein wrote in a blog post Friday morning.

The jobs number released Friday represents stimulus spending through Sept. 30.

Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus package into law in February. It passed the House without a single Republican vote, while only three Republicans voted for it in the Senate.

But congressional Republicans and others continue to question how much the stimulus has affected the economy.

“After promising earlier this year that 90 percent of the ‘jobs created’ would be in the private sector, the White House’s announcement Friday shows that the ‘stimulus’ has only grown the size of the government payroll,” House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio said in a statement.

The White House credited the stimulus for most if not all of the growth recorded in the third quarter.

“In the absence of the Recovery Act, real GDP would have risen little, if at all, this past quarter,” Christina Romer, who heads the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, said on Thursday after the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew by 3.5 percent in the third quarter.

(c) 2009, MarketWatch.com Inc. Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.