Job Creation in Green Energy Overstated

Wall Street Journal thinks 100K figure is way off
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 24, 2012 11:12 AM CST
President Obama speaks at the University of Miami Field House in Coral Gables, Fla., Thursday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – The Obama administration says a $10 billion portion of its 2009 stimulus directly prompted the creation of 100,000 jobs in alternative energy, but the claim is difficult to measure. Trouble is, such assessments are based on mathematical formulas and reports, not straightforward counts. Indeed, the Congressional Research Service urged "skepticism" in the matter; now, the Wall Street Journal finds the number of jobs created to be "far fewer." It doesn't provide a total, but rounds up example after example of projects that didn't deliver as promised.

Some firms receiving stimulus cash have since closed or gone bankrupt. Some employed a large volume of temporary workers but have since shed many. About $4.3 billion, for example, was directed to wind farms that at one point during construction boasted 7,200 workers; the figure is now down to 300. In another instance, a company that received $1.5 billion says it has created 15,000 jobs—but currently has just 850 workers. "Green energy is a future for all communities we should embrace," says the director of a development foundation in Texas. "But they shouldn't tell us it is for jobs." (Read more President Obama stories.)

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