Friday, March 05, 2010

Shattered Myths: More Jobs Created Under Blanchard Than Engler

Most economists have said that when it comes to the overall numbers in job creation, there really isn't a lot that can be done by policy at the state level, and that it's more a function of the national economy more than anything. Still, governors will get the credit, or take the blame, for whatever happens under their watch.

If that is the game we are going to play, and you want to compare the numbers on Blanchard vs. Engler, then say hello to the job creation king: Jim Blanchard.

Some may find this surprising, but job growth in Michigan during Blanchard's eight years as governor far outstripped job creation during Engler's 12 years at the helm.

Michigan added 730,900 payroll jobs from 1983 through 1990--the Blanchard years--while 424,300 jobs were added from 1991 through 2002--the Engler years as governor.

A couple of caveats: Blanchard's early years were marked by a strong national recovery from what was then the worst recession since World War II. And the state lost 189,000 jobs during Engler's last two years as domestic automakers entered their decade-long downward spiral.

But if you compare Michigan's job growth with that of the nation's under Blanchard and Engler, Blanchard wins again. Michigan outgrew the United States 23.6 percent to 22.4 percent under Blanchard, while the state lagged the nation's job growth 13.7 percent to 19.4 percent under Engler.

Tip 'o the hat to Rick Haglund at and Don Grimes who crunched the numbers.