Has The Stimulus Created Great Places To Find Jobs?

Are stimulus dollars helping out cities with good job markets?

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I've been thinking more about Liz's list of the 10 Best Places To Find A Job, which is really about the cities in America where employment has been steadiest. I think an issue to look at in regards to this list more relevant than taxes (which I tackled yesterday) is the stimulus. Obama's stimulus package was supposed to shore up employment. So I thought it would be interesting to see if these cities with steady employment can thank the stimulus for their well-being.

So we need to look at where the money is going. ProPublica has a handy ranking of stimulus recipients by state and county.  Across all 50 states (plus DC), the average per capita stimulus spending is $432.22.

I looked at the 10 counties where Liz's 10 cities are located. How much per capital stimulus spending are they getting? Here's what I found:

  • Anchorage, AK - $509
  • Arlington, VA - $452
  • Columbus, OH (Franklin County) - $169
  • Honolulu, HI - $130
  • Houston, TX (Harris County) - $143
  • Oklahoma City, OK (Oklahoma County) - $162
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (Salt Lake County) - $267
  • Shreveport, LA (Caddo Parish) - $302
  • Tallahasee, FL (Leon County) - $346
  • Wichita, KS (Sedgwick County) - $138
  • As you can see, only two of the 10 cities rise above the nationwide average, and many are significantly below the average. The stimulus has not disproportionately helped out these towns.

    Now, I am not going to pretend like this above analysis even comes close to answering the question in the headline to this post.  After all, there could be hundreds of cities and towns that received a disproportionate amount of stimulus dollars and, while not some of the "best places to find a job," aren't hurting as bad due to that infusion. Just because the stimulus isn't helping out the best job markets doesn't mean it's not helping out the worst.

    The fact that these 10 cities did not receive large amounts of stimulus money per capita might say more about how hardy their economies are, more than it says anything about the efficacy of the stimulus.