Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Are they fluffing up the cap & trade jobs data? 

James Taranto included this nugget in yesterday's Best of the Web.
President Barack Obama's clean-energy initiatives will help create more than 700,000 jobs and allow the U.S. to double its renewable-power generation in three years, according to a report by Vice President Joe Biden," Bloomberg reports. Wow, that's a lot of jobs.

Or is it? Take a look at footnote 3 on page 2 of the Biden memo:

All of the job estimates used in this document correspond to jobs that last for one year. Of course, some jobs could last longer--in this case the number of distinct jobs would be reduced proportionately. For example, a project that employs one person for two years would count as creating two jobs.
I checked; it's there. It's not 700,000 jobs, it's 700,000 job-years. Now the median job in America lasts about five years, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute. So the number of actual jobs created may be inflated by a factor of five. 140,000 jobs would be about 0.1% of the workforce.

The jobs in here include some rather pie-in-the-sky stuff like three electric vehicle and advanced battery factories, as well as the more mundane (and useful) construction of nuclear power plants. There are plenty of projects in here that will make some areas (and their representatives) happy as it is. So why fluff the number of jobs? Following the funny accounting of Porkulus, this seems a pretty odd thing for the White House to do.