Since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, states and other recipients of the federal funds have had to comply with fairly rigorous data and reporting requirements. At the end of every fiscal quarter, recipients would compile and submit data to the federal government on funds received and expended under each program funded by the ARRA. For education programs, this included Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act grants and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, among other programs. Additionally, recipients had to report how many jobs had been saved or created by those expenditures in each fiscal quarter. This information is meant to estimate the degree to which spending from the ARRA has actually stimulated the economy and created jobs. In turn, the federal government posts the recipient data online via Recovery.gov, a website created purely to report ARRA data. Though recipient data is often flawed, it has become an important resource for tracking the progress of ARRA.
As we’ve discussed before, however, the recipient data is a slog to get through. Data are difficult to interpret, overwhelmingly large in scope, and hard to pare down if you are only interested in specific information or programs. Luckily, for those interested in the Department of Education programs, ED has been kind enough to create reports that summarize the expenditure and jobs numbers by program and by state for each fiscal quarter. Unfortunately, ED has not yet made those reports available online for the most recent fiscal quarter (see past reports here).
However, in the absence of the ED report, the Recovery.gov website does have some higher level information available that paints a picture of the degree to which ARRA is saving or creating jobs. According to recipient reported data, spending under ARRA-funded Department of Education programs saved or created 337,306 jobs in the 4th quarter of federal fiscal year 2010 (July 1, 2010 through September 30, 2010). This is a little more than half of the total jobs saved or created by ARRA over the same time period – 671,607 jobs total. Compared to data from the 3rd quarter of the fiscal year, however, the most recent jobs numbers fall a little short – 454,300 jobs were saved or created by education ARRA programs in the 3rd quarter. This makes sense, however, because the 4th quarter primarily encompasses the summer months during which schools are not in session and expenditures are lower.
Unsurprisingly, State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) under the Education Stabilization grants saved or created the most jobs of any program, education or otherwise – 168,180 jobs in the 4th fiscal quarter. The Education Stabilization grants provided $39.8 billion to states to fill gaps in K-12 and higher education funding, comprising one of the largest singe programs in the ARRA. State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Government Services grants saved the second most jobs at 59,868 in the 4th quarter. These funds can be used to support government programs like public safety and Medicaid in addition to public education.
Interestingly, though SFSF Education Stabilization grants saved or created the most jobs in the 3rd quarter, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants saved or created more jobs than SFSF Government Services grants. Again, this distinction can be attributed to the school year calendar, which mostly falls during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fiscal quarters, but not the 4th. Because Government Services grants got to other expenditures besides education, they are more likely to be used during the summer than IDEA grants.
As one would expect, the largest states saved or created the most jobs using ARRA education funds, with one exception. Florida reported saving or creating the most jobs using education ARRA funds in the 4th quarter – 47,109 of the total 61,725 jobs saved or created in the state. New York came in second with 30,978 jobs and Texas in third with 29,895 jobs. Though one would expect California to have the highest job numbers because it is the largest state, California spent most of its ARRA education funds prior to the 4th fiscal quarter. As a result, it reports saving or creating 17,997 jobs.
In total, the Department of Education has paid out $64.9 billion of the nearly $100 billion available for education programs under the ARRA. According to recipient data, these funds save or create between 300,000 and 400,000 jobs each fiscal quarter depending on whether school is in session. As these funds begin to run out, particularly in states like California that used them quickly, school districts will begin to rely on the more recently-passed Education Jobs Fund to keep these positions open. We impatiently await the release of the Department of Education’s quarterly jobs report to get a better sense of where these jobs are coming from and how long they are likely to last.