In fact, from May 2012 to May 2014, Michigan was first in the nation in gross manufacturing job gains with 25,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Texas was second with 22,000 jobs added. Michigan has been sixth in that time span in percentage growth (4.7 percent). Montana led the nation in percentage growth over the past two years at 8.5 percent.
University of Michigan economist Don Grimes said Michigan's economy is doing well, but he questioned why Gov. Snyder would link its improvement to the manufacturing sector.
"[A]nyone who wants to use employment growth in the manufacturing sector as a primary metric for an area's economic success should have their head examined," Grimes said. "I guarantee that manufacturing employment will grow more slowly than total employment, and in fact, will soon begin to decline — in Michigan, the U.S. overall and in most, if not all, other states too."
Grimes said Michigan had growth in manufacturing jobs last year above the U.S. average, but other states did better.
"If you look at the last year you will see that Michigan's manufacturing sector has added 8,400 jobs for a gain of 1.52 percent," he said. "This growth rate is above the U.S. overall (0.93 percent), but there are several other states that had faster growth over the last year."
Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, attributed much of the recent growth in manufacturing to the recovery of the automobile industry in the state.
"We are still a manufacturing intensive state relative to other places," he said.
Rothwell said other contributing factors are that the state has become more competitive.
"There is more investment by foreign and U.S. manufacturers because of increased competitiveness," he said.