News Bites

Michigan Manufacturing Is Back (If Not All The Way)

Manufacturing employment in the state of Michigan has attained its highest level in 10 years, according to just-released figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were 611,300 Michigan workers employed in the manufacturing sector in August, the most for any month since June 2007, when 612,300 were involved in making things here.

The figures include everyone from workers at a Battle Creek cereal packaging plant to those making auto parts at a Flint plant. The rebound is still short of Michigan manufacturing’s 21st-century high-water mark, which was 901,000 people in June 2000.

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Lowest-Paid Flint Officer: $17 Per Hour (Not $11.25)

News reports said that Flint police officers earned only $11 per hour. But even the lowest base salary of officers in the city are more than $17 per hour. … more

83,000 Plus: The Number of State Regulations That Affect Your Life

The Michigan Administrative Code, a compilation of all the rules and regulations created and enforced by state agencies, contains more than 83,000 mandates, requirements, restrictions and more. All told, they run to over 4.6 million words.

The agencies that have promulgated the most regulations are the state departments of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Environmental Quality, and Treasury. The figures come from research done by the Mercatus Center.

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Michigan Unemployment Rate: From Worst To ‘We’re No. 16!’

Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent in July, the 16th lowest among the states. The national unemployment rate in July was 4.3 percent. Michigan had the highest unemployment rate in the nation from April 2006 to February 2010, a span of 47 months.

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Federal Spending To Top $4 Trillion in 2017, Highest Ever

Mainstream media reports are filled with stories from federal bureaucrats complaining about President Donald Trump's administration's proposals to cut next year's budget.

Yet federal spending this year is projected to break $4 trillion for the first time, according to White House budget documents. The federal government will spend $4.06 trillion in the fiscal year that ends on Oct. 1, 2017, an increase of $210 billion from the previous year. The spending total is also $602.5 billion more than the $3.46 trillion the feds expect to take in this year.

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20 Percent Of Michigan Jobs Disappeared Last Year – But Slightly More New Ones Were Created

Michigan’s dynamic economy is in a state of constant flux. In 2016, 825,800 new jobs were created in Michigan, and 779,810 jobs disappeared, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Around one of every five jobs in 2016 were eliminated and a little bit more than that were added. To put this in perspective, it’s as if Ford Motor Co. laid off and rehired all 40,000 of its Michigan employees – 18 times a year.

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We’re No. 13: Fuel Price, Gas Tax Up In Michigan And Elsewhere

The current statewide average cost for a gallon of regular gas was $2.393 as of July 24. That means Michigan has the nation’s 13th-highest gas price. A 7.3-cent tax increase on each gallon of gas, which went into effect earlier this year, is contributing to that rank.

In the Midwest, only Pennsylvania had a higher price ($2.502). South Carolina ($1.985) had the lowest price in the U.S. The national average was $2.284, according to AAA.

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Michigan Unemployment Rate Lower For Not-The-Best Reason — But Still Very Low

Michigan’s unemployment rate declined to 3.8 percent last month. The number of people employed went down by 9,000 in June, while the labor force declined by 29,000. While a decline in the number of people employed would by itself cause the unemployment rate to go up, the shrinkage of the labor force drove the unemployment rate down from 4.2 percent to 3.8 percent.

The lowest-ever Michigan unemployment rate since these records were tracked in 1976 was 3.2 percent in March, 2000.

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Union Gets $241k From Turning Teachers Over to Collections Agency

The state’s largest teachers union has turned many public school employees over to collection agencies when they stopped paying union dues after the state’s right-to-work law became effective.

Between 2013 and 2016, the Michigan Education Association reported receipts of more than $241,000 from teachers it had turned over to bill collection agencies, according to disclosures the union filed with the federal government.

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Social Media: Did Betsy DeVos Stiff Waiter On $500 Restaurant Bill?

A social media story circulating on Twitter and Facebook has it that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stiffed the wait staff after a recent dinner in Saugatuck. DeVos was part of a party that ate at Bowdies Chophouse the weekend before July 4.

According to one Facebook post by a Saugatuck woman, the bill for the evening was $500 and the party left no tip for the wait staff. The post was shared 372 times by July 10.

Tyler Bowdish, who operates Bowdies, said he had seen the social media post but didn’t know how to handle it. Bowdish said he served the DeVos party that night. “I personally took care of them that night. There is no truth to it.”

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There aren’t many policies that get near unanimous support from economists, but free trade is one of them. Despite this, a central theme of the 2016 presidential campaign, heard from both political parties, was that free trade was somehow harmful to the United States and corrective action was needed. Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint and scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, makes the case for why President Trump’s assessment of free trade is misguided.

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