Saturday, October 02, 2004

US.Misstates Own Job Creation Figures in Iraq

Published on Friday, October 1, 2004 by Reuters
via Common Dreams

By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration has overstated U.S.-funded job figures in Iraq due to what the government said was an accounting error, but critics say may be a bid to paint a rosier picture on the ground.

Increased employment in Iraq is seen as a measure of progress as the country moves toward January elections.

State Department figures released on Sept. 22 show the U.S. government overstated by more than 30,000 the number of Iraqis working on projects funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, one of Washington's biggest employers in Iraq.

The Iraq Weekly Status report said 45,844 Iraqis were employed in projects funded by USAID, according to Sept. 15 data, compared with 88,436 recorded in the previous week's report, amounting to a 48.2 percent decrease. The 88,436 figure was later adjusted to 55,463 jobs.

"(This) decrease in (USAID) employment numbers reflects correction of a previous accounting error," said a small-type footnote at the bottom of the unclassified Sept. 22 document.

Asked to explain the error, USAID spokesman Jose Fuentes said he was looking into it.

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