Monday, April 04, 2011

Pick a Number

Love the folks at the U of M Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics. They're up, they're down, they're all around... but how did they not know this was going on?

The Michigan economy is off to a stronger start for the year than expected and will add more than 64,000 jobs this year — almost 10 times as many new jobs as economists predicted just months ago.

According to new data released this afternoon by the University of Michigan's Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, the state will add 64,600 during 2011 and 61,500 during 2012. In November, the same economists expect job gains of 48,000 in 2012 and just 6,300 for this year.

So, when we went into the election last year, the jobless rate was much lower than we thought, and the Michigan economy was gaining jobs, so much so that entering 2011, we were at a "robust" pace. Interesting. Here is the scoop, in their words:

Revised data indicate that Michigan’s economy bottomed out from its nearly decade-long employment decline in the summer of 2009. Job growth has been sustained through 2010, the first gains spanning a year since 2000. We estimate that 2011 began with robust job growth of 3.8 percent at annual rate, reflecting in part a bounce in manufacturing following the traumatic situation of the recent past.

"Traumatic situation" is a lovely turn of the phrase as well. Ahem. And I'm not seeing the words "business taxes" mentioned anywhere here... does that mean that they really don't make a difference in job creation? Maybe we shouldn't cut them after all. Something to consider.

The U of M RSQE thinks we slow down from here on out - meaning all that robust job growth happened under those (not-so) high taxes. Imagine that.

The pace of job growth backs off to a much more modest 0.8 percent in the second quarter. From there, the pace of job creation moves up gradually but steadily, to 1.1 percent at year end 2011 and a healthy 1.9 percent a year later—job gains of 64,600 during 2011 and 61,500 during 2012.

Michigan recorded a stronger recovery in jobs than the nation from the state’s low point in 2009q3 until now. Going forward, the positions flip, with state job growth lagging that of the nation through 2012, albeit with the gap narrowing in ’12.

Again, these guys were way off on the original estimate, so who knows where we are now or what will happen - but it's always fun to play with the numbers. Too bad we didn't know any better in the spring of '10 though...