Saturday, March 26, 2011

Michigan Job Gains at 10-Year High

Took this title straight from the DNews. It's buried in small letters down on the webpage.

U.S. companies have added jobs for 12 straight months, but the gains across the country have been uneven and a little surprising.

California and Michigan, which each suffered some of the worst job losses during the recession, are adding jobs again. California last month had its single best month for job creation in more than two decades.

But... but... but... we haven't cut taxes yet! We haven't busted the public employee unions yet! How could this be? Well, it "be" simply because we still are depending on manufacturing for job growth, and auto sales have picked up. Amongst other things too, like the renewable energy manufacturing jobs that were pointed out the other day. It's not all auto, but you could hazard a guess that the ripple effect is happening again.

Comerica Inc. Chief Economist Dana Johnson said Friday: "With its manufacturing sector leading the way, Michigan is repeating the historical pattern of having a stronger recovery than the nation after having a much worse downturn."

Could be why the DNews isn't making a big deal out of the story. They don't want to embarrass an editorial staff that is fixated on unions and government as being the cause of all our woe, when it's actually consumer demand that is the main driver in our economy, period. And check these numbers - after all the predictions that we wouldn't see job growth until 2011 or 2012, we actually added jobs in 2010. So there.

Michigan, meanwhile, added 71,000 jobs last year. That's the first sustained job gain the state has had in the past decade, said Sophia Koropeckyj, a managing director at Moody's Analytics.

Michigan's unemployment rate has plummeted from 13.5 percent to 10.4 percent, the biggest drop in the nation.

Half of the decline reflects a large drop in the state's work force. Once unemployed workers give up looking for jobs, they no longer count as unemployed.

Yes, the drop in the labor force is part of it, but you gotta love those numbers, especially the "biggest drop in the nation" in the jobless rate line. When comparing with other states, it can be informative (and fun!) provided your state is on the upswing. But, when it comes to percentages and revisions on the hard numbers, we are back to the old adage, "Does anybody really know what time it is"?

They have revised the labor force numbers along with our unemployment (technically described as the "jobless rate" in the official stats) numbers for the past few years. For example, as reported in the news throughout 2009, we were above 15% for months. Some were worried we might break our all-time high of 16.8% set in Dec. of 1982. After the revisions, it now shows we hit the highest percentage at 14.1% in Aug.- Sep. of 2009 - and started to drop back down from there. That's way earlier than the initial reported December of '09, 14.5% high-water mark.

Makes you wonder if that would have had any effect on the election hype of 2010. If the economy was turning earlier than we thought and was reported as such, would it have made a difference? Would it have killed some of the urgency in both the news and the campaign advertising? In the fall of 2010, right before the election, we were at a reported 13%. The revision now shows 11.6%. Quite a drop. Still high, of course, and maybe it wouldn't have mattered, given everything else that was being said about health care and taxes and all the other tripe that was being thrown about by the campaigns. But still...

Back to present day. We now are at fifth place in the nation, dropping below poor Rhode Island, who can't seem to ever catch a break. Wish Gov. Chaffee luck, he's going to need it. Nice to see the heat off of us for a change though, and let's hope that Snyder's short-sighted economic policy doesn't slow our recovery down. The DNews is also reporting today that he is having second thoughts about business tax incentives, which kind of tells you he didn't think this thing through - and that's a scary indication that he really doesn't know what he is doing.

Stay tuned.