September 2012 — GAO's Comments on the Latest Round of Recipient Reporting

What GAO Found

The Recovery Act requires GAO to comment and report quarterly on estimates of jobs funded and counted as full-time equivalents (FTE) as reported by recipients of Recovery Act funds. While Recovery Act recipients’ reporting of FTEs began in September 2009, the first quarter that FTE data were submitted for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the Rural Utilities Service’s (RUS) Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) programs was the first quarter of 2010 for BTOP and the second quarter of 2010 for BIP.

The FTE data reported by BTOP and BIP recipients showed an overall rise in the level of employment activity among the projects. The number of FTEs reported by both programs steadily increased from quarter to quarter in 2010 and 2011 with BTOP continuing to show an increase in the second quarter of 2012 while BIP showed a decrease during the first quarter of 2012, and an increase from that in the second quarter of 2012.

Recipients reported that BTOP-funded FTEs increased from about 20 FTEs in the first quarter of 2010 to a peak quarter of about 4,500 FTEs in the second quarter of 2012. BIP recipients reported an increase from 86 FTEs in the second quarter of 2010 to about 4,500 in the second quarter of 2012, with a peak of over 4,700 FTEs in the fourth quarter of 2011.

What GAO DidBack to top

To assess the quality of FTE reporting by awardees participating in BTOP and BIP, GAO examined recipient-reported data publicly available at Recovery.gov as of August 1, 2012, for these two programs over the 10 quarters in which they reported FTE data.  GAO’s assessment of the FTE reporting included interviewing NTIA and RUS program officials familiar with awardees’ recipient reporting and a review of the FTE figures and other recipient reported data. GAO’s matches showed a high degree of agreement between the agencies’ assessments of FTE positions reported and GAO’s analyses of information recipients provided on their quarterly reports. Based on GAO’s analyses and interviews with agency officials, GAO determined that the recipient-reported data appeared to be sufficiently reliable for the purpose of providing summary, descriptive information about FTEs and other information submitted on grantees’ recipient reports.