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Ryan Johnson, Forum Communications Co., Published April 17 2010

Stimulus credited for jobs in Minn., ND

Last year’s $787 billion federal economic stimulus legislation was responsible for saving or creating 7,000 jobs in North Dakota and 56,000 jobs in Minnesota during the first three months of 2010, the White House said in a Friday report.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act so far has committed about

$525 billion to specific projects, and $370 billion of that has been paid out, the White House said.

North Dakota has received more than $790 million already, according to the report.

Job Service North Dakota reported Friday that the state’s unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, rose slightly to 4.9 percent in March. The rate was at 4.7 percent in February.

March’s rate was lower than the 5.3 percent unemployment recorded in March 2009, and is still “considerably lower” than the national 10.2 percent March rate.

Seasonally adjusted, North Dakota unemployment rate was at 4.0 percent in March, just below the 4.1 percent rate from February. In March 2009, the state had a 4.4 seasonally adjusted rate.

Nationwide

A Council of Economic Advisers analysis released Wednesday said the economic stimulus legislation helped create or save about 2.5 million jobs nationwide in the first quarter of 2010.

According to that report, about half of those jobs across the country were a result of more than $200 billion in tax relief and financial assistance, a component of the legislation. It said household post-tax income would have fallen significantly in 2009, and consumer spending would not have rebounded like it did, without these provisions.

Income in the last nine months of 2009 was higher than the end of 2008, the report said, and the legislation’s tax relief components are expected to increase the stimulus’ impact on household disposable income.


Ryan Johnson writes for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.