News Story

Green Eyeshadow On Red Ink: 'Green' Jobs Fail To Live Up To The Hype

Michigan invests billions, politicians' promises fail to materialize

In 2010, then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm touted the “energy economy” with helping turn around Michigan’s economy.

Granholm boasted that the state had 109,000 green jobs in 2009 and said, "The new energy economy is already here, infusing our state with good-paying, permanent jobs.”

From 2004 to 2009, Gov. Granholm said Michigan had invested $1 billion to promote “green manufacturing.”

Yet, green jobs account for just 2.1 percent of the total jobs in Michigan today, according to a government report.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a report that Michigan was 12th in the nation in providing jobs related to “green” energy. The report said Michigan had 79,771 green jobs, based on 2010 data.

There are 3.1 million jobs in the state, meaning those "green" jobs account for 2.1 percent of the total jobs in Michigan.

The BLS report also questions Gov. Granholm’s claim of 109,000 jobs.

Gov. Granholm didn’t respond to an email asking where she got her number of 109,000 green energy jobs, which is 37 percent higher than the BLS figure.

But James Hohman, a fiscal policy analyst with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy said the BLS report should open some eyes about how much of an impact green jobs have on the state’s total economy.

“The new BLS figures provide some context into whether politicians’ promises have translated into economic growth,” Hohman said in an email. “So far, green falls short of expectations. Subsidizing trendy industries at the expense of everyone else will hurt the state’s recovery.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.