According to the Treasury Department, employers have added some 4.5 million workers since the HIRE Act — which lets employers off the hook from 6.2% Social Security taxes if they hire people who have been unemployed for at least 60 days — was implemented in March.

Good news all around, I’d say. More people back to work — good. Employers getting a tax break for getting people back to work — good.

But, as the AP reports, the feds couldn’t resist wondering: Would you have hired them anyway, even without the tax break?

Obviously, if you would have, that points to a stronger, more sustainable recovery outlook. But, at the same time, as my grandmother used to say, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Even if employers weren’t looking to hire, I doubt employers would turn down an opportunity to get an added tax break, particularly in this economic environment. Treasury reports employers that hired under HIRE are eligible for $8.5 billion in tax relief. Certainly nothing to sneeze at.

What say you, pros? Have you done any HIRE hiring this year? Was the tax break your main motivation? Do you think the recent hiring uptick was mainly driven by the recovery or the Recovery Act/HIRE? Sound off in the comments.

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