Diary

Obama: Words matter, so now let's call them "funded" jobs

Obama’s nebulous millions of jobs “created or saved” claim was subjected to endless ridicule. As we have seen with the war on terror and so many other issues, the Obama solution is to change the name to number of jobs “funded”.

Well in truth that’s not really all they are doing. They’re also lessening reporting requirements so that it won’t be as obvious that the stimulus money is being wasted.

This action was taken in response to a GAO report a couple months ago entitled – I swear I am not making this up – “Recipient Reported Jobs Data Provide Some Insight into Use of Recovery Act Funding, but Data Quality and Reporting Issues Need Attention”.

And we thought parsing of Bill Clinton’s words was critical!

Here is the body of Orzag’s memo about this change. There are 22 pages of attachments giving the details.

SUBJECT: Updated Guidance on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – Data Quality, Non-Reporting Recipients, and Reporting of Job Estimates

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, P.L. 111-5 (“Recovery Act”) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. As required by Section 1512 of the Recovery Act, recipients have begun submitting reports on the use of Recovery Act funding through a nationwide data collection process and have reported estimates on the number of jobs created and retained. The updated guidance included in this Memorandum incorporates lessons learned from the reporting period ending September 30, 2009 (the first reporting period under the Recovery Act) and further addresses recommendations of the Government Accountability Office in its report, Recipient Reported Jobs Data Provide Some Insight into Use of Recovery Act Funding, but Data Quality and Reporting Issues Need Attention, issued November 19, 2009.

Part 1 of this Memorandum provides guidance to Federal agencies intended to improve the quality of data reported under Section 1512 of the Recovery Act and further outlines important steps Federal agencies must take to both identify non-reporting recipients and take actions to bring such recipients into compliance with Section 1512 of the Act. This Memorandum:
• Provides Federal agencies with a standard methodology that is necessary for effectively implementing reviews of the quality of data submitted by recipients.
• Provides guidance to Federal agencies on the format and dates to provide OMB with the list of awards subject to recipient reporting.
• Provides guidance to Federal agencies on the format and dates to provide OMB with the associated list of specific recipients who failed to submit required reports.

Please note that Part 1 of this memorandum will apply to both recipients of Federal assistance awards and Federal contract awards under the Recovery Act.

Part 2 of this Memorandum updates Section 5: Reporting on Jobs Creation Estimates by Recipients (M-09-21). The update reflects important simplifications to the manner in which job estimates are calculated and reported. Specifically, recipients will now report job estimates on a quarterly, rather than cumulative, basis. As a result, recipients will no longer be required to sum various data on hours worked across multiple quarters of data when calculating job estimates. This update aligns with GAO’s recommendation to “standardize the period of measurement for [Full Time Equivalents].” In addition, recipients will no longer be required to make a subjective judgment on whether jobs were created or retained as a result of the Recovery Act. Instead, recipients will more easily and objectively report on jobs funded with Recovery Act dollars. This update aligns with GAO’s recommendation to “[make] more explicit that ‘jobs created or retained’ are to be reported as hours worked and paid for with Recovery Act funds.” In making these updates, this Memorandum provides a series of practical and user-friendly examples of how the simplified formula should be applied.

As recipients transition to the updated methodology, Federal agencies will work closely with the recipients to address the potential challenges for this upcoming reporting period. Recipients should implement the updated methodology to the greatest extent possible for the January reporting period. Federal agencies should consider the efforts put forth and the complexities and challenges of the recipients when reviewing compliance with the Federal awards.

This replacement for M-09-21 Section 5 – will apply to recipients of Federal assistance awards under the Recovery Act. Federal contractors will continue to comply with FAR Clause 52.204-11. An example of how to calculate jobs will be posted to the Frequently Asked Questions for Federal Contractors linked at FederalReporting.gov.

Due to the rapidly approaching January reporting period, we are cognizant that Federal agencies and recipients may have questions pertaining to the newly issued guidance. Questions (or requested clarifications) pertaining to these guidance documents should be sent to [email protected] for timely review.

Thank you for your cooperation.