Consumers Aren't Buying Stimulus Jobs "Success"

I'm getting sick and tired of everyone talking about how much worse shape we would be in, but for (fill in the blank: TARP, stimulus, auto bail outs...) Even if it's true, it doesn't make anyone feel better. That's what I keep thinking when Obama Administration officials sound like cheerleaders claiming victory over job creation that occurred as a result of the $787 billion stimulus.

A White House report will be released later today and it's expected to show that the stimulus plan helped create or save 650,000 jobs through September 30th. One might want to take these numbers with a grain of salt, after digesting the AP report, which suggested that the folks who are providing the data to the White House can't seem to add or subtract too well. The AP analysis calls into question any of the official numbers, though the White House countered it by saying that the AP examination only represented 2% of Recovery Act spending. Kind of like how political polls only represent only a sliver of the population, from which we extrapolate larger trends, but that must different, right?

As my niece would say, whatever. Whether the numbers are mathematically challenged or not, the job situation is dreadful and not improving soon enough to satisfy Americans. That's why they retrenched on spending last month. Personal spending dropped 0.5% in September, the steepest decline since 12/08 when we were in the eye of the recession's storm. Consumers are all too aware that jobs are scarce and those who are lucky enough to have them know that flat income is better than no income.

So, please no cheers for Q3 GDP or for stimulus job creation just yet. We're happy that the worst appears to be behind us, but recovery is a process, not an event and we have a long way to go.

Image by Flickr User uwdigitalcollections, CC 2.0