If you have an abiding interest in data and the patience to navigate an intricate website, you can get the skinny on how your community is benefitting – or not – from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). On Oct. 30, the White House uploaded 121,000 new quarterly reports, nearly all of which cover ARRA grants to prime and sub-recipients, such as states, nonprofits and universities. This added to a mid-October data posting covering companies that received federal government contracts. As officials acknowledge, the data-reporting effort is a work in progress; a coalition of watchdog organizations has criticized the jobs information – officials peg the number of positions created or saved at around 640,329 as of Oct. 30 – as incomplete at best.
However, the Recovery.gov website incorporated new features timed with the data release, including an more interactive map and the ability to search recipient data by individual state or territory. Once you click on a state, you can get more information on jobs created by zip code or on how much funding was awarded by agency. A “Download Center” allows users to access grants and loan data in CSV, XML and XLS formats. Scour Recovery.gov for details; the next quarterly reports are due in January.