White House says stimulus saved 3 million US jobs

White House says stimulus saved 3 million US jobs

Washington: Hoping to lift sagging confidence in US President Barack Obama’s conomic leadership, the White House will make the case on Wednesday that his policies are creating jobs and spurring private investment.

A report to be unveiled at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) will estimate that Obama’s $862 billion economic stimulus package, which passed last year, has saved or created 3 million jobs and is on track to meet its goal of 3.5 million jobs by the end of this year.

The analysis from the White House Council of Economic Advisers will say that government funding of clean energy, economic development, construction projects and other initiatives is spurring “co-investment" by private-sector firms, according to a US official who previewed the report.

Vice president Joseph Biden and CEA chairwoman Christina Romer are to present the findings and Romer is scheduled to testify on it later on Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The report comes a day after a pair of polls raised red flags for Obama and his Democrats, who appear vulnerable four months ahead of November congressional elections. Republicans are seeking to overturn Democratic dominance in both houses of the US Congress.

A survey by the Washington Post-ABC News showed 54% of Americans disapproved of Obama’s leadership on the economy. In a CBS News poll, only 40% of Americans said they approved of Obama’s handling of the economy.

Obama has highlighted the dire state of the economy he inherited when he took office in January 2009, and has claimed credit for stopping an economic freefall in which employers were shedding workers at a rate of 700,000 a month.

The economy has been creating private-sector jobs in recent months, but at a slow pace. The US unemployment rate remains at a stubbornly high 9.5%, fueling Americans’ frustrations with the lackluster recovery.

Republicans have sought to portray the stimulus package as wasteful and ineffective and have highlighted continued weakness in the labor market to argue that the package, also known as the “Recovery Act," did not live up to its billing.

In excerpts of testimony Romer plans to give to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, she says government spending is “leveraging" and encouraging private investment.

“We estimate that the $100 billion of Recovery Act funds will partner with close to $300 billion of other funds, the majority of which are from the private sector," Romer argues in the excerpts.

Obama has also faced criticism lately from business groups who say his agenda of healthcare reform, new regulations for Wall Street and proposals for caps on carbon emissions are burdensome to corporate America.

The release of the report is part of a series of events the administration has scheduled to focus on the Recovery Act. Obama plans to travel to Holland, Michigan, on Thursday to attend a groundbreaking for a new plant that will make batteries for electric vehicles.