Something I have said before in the pages of this blog: when economists talk about creating jobs we are talking about sustained economic activity that creates economic growth and related jobs. We are not talking about, therefore, a three month job repaving a road. What is confusing of course is that we also speak about fiscal stimulus getting the economy going and lowering the unemployment rate. This is true, but the unemployment rate lowering is not, in general, from the people we employ to fix roads but from the new economic activity they ands the project generates which breathes some life into a moribund economy.
Which makes it all so frustrating when candidates for public office are asked about "job creation." The right answer to this question is to talk about how much you have done to advance public education, how much you have assisted in creating a higher education system that is helping R&D, how much you have done to create the infrastructure (and not just roads and bridges) to support a modern economy that will grow and create jobs. But the answers are inevitably along the lines of, "well I helped get money for the project to build X Y and Z and they hired 1,000 people to do it." Which is all well and good but pretty much beside the point.
And I don't blame politicians so much, they need to say something that sounds good and concrete, but they often twist themselves into pretzels in so doing. I mention all of this because the Willy Week has a new fact checking article on jobs claims and find that some numbers don't add up. This is all well and good, I suppose, but pretty much beside the point. They miss the big picture too. Personally, I am gratified when candidates like Jefferson Smith get uncomfortable talking about specific numbers and defer to more general themes like education because they are right to do so. That is not, however, what voters want to hear apparently. But unless you are one of a tiny number of people directly hired by a specific project, you shouldn't care about such minutiae - what you should care about is a state that has fertile soil for economic growth.