About the project

The Medill School of Journalism’s Washington program partnered with McClatchy Newspapers for an in-depth look at the stimulus bill. Graduate students in the seminar “Watchdogs in Washington” analyzed government data that led to this special report.

Among the findings:

  1. The jobless rates in the states had little to do with where major portions of the stimulus package were distributed. Some states with the lowest unemployment rates received some of the highest per-capita spending for stimulus projects. (Graphic: The disconnect between stimulus funds and unemployment by state.)
  2. Job creation on the local level has been uneven. By the White House’s numbers, for example, Nebraska created 74 percent of the expected jobs, while North Dakota and Massachusetts created 100 percent.
  3. The Obama administration won’t be able to fulfill its vow to track every stimulus dollar. The mechanism that’s used to account for the expenditures is complicated, flawed and at times inaccurate.
  4. Much of the stimulus money has yet to go out the door. As of July, $127 billion in contracts, grants and loans had been awarded, but that’s less than half the $275 billion allocated for those projects.