News Story

Data counter Whitmer’s claim of growing Michigan

Since 2020, Michigan ranks 49th in job growth

(Editor's note: This article has been updated to note that one population report assumes zero inbound migration.)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her administration will continue to grow Michigan’s economy, but the state’s record since she took office counters that claim.

On May 30, Whitmer posted on social media a meme of an animated character reviewing a to-do list: “Get to work building an innovative ecosystem, keep growing Michigan’s economy and population, and build a bridge to the future and create a more innovative, prosperous and strong Michigan.”

Whitmer won the governor’s office in 2018 and was reelected in 2022. From 2018-23, Michigan’s population declined by 33,349 people, a 0.3% decrease that is the ninth-worst record in the country. By contrast, the U.S. population increased by 1.9%.

Michigan ranks 49th in job growth since 2020, according to the Michigan Growing Council.

“We are lagging in median income, educational outcomes, and attainment and have fallen behind faster-growing peer states in key measures of infrastructure, community well-being, and job opportunities,” the council said in a report. ”We are losing more young residents than we’re attracting, and our population is aging faster than those of our neighbors.”

From December 2018 to April 2024, the latest month for which data is available, Michigan’s economy is up 54,500 jobs, a 1.2% increase that is the 11th-weakest among the states.

About 700,000 people will leave the state by 2050, according to a report from the Michigan Center of Data and Analytics that assumes zero inbound migration. 

Roughly 270,000 people will leave the state by 2050, according to a 2023 Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan report that accounts for migration.

James Hohman, the director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said Michigan is falling behind other states.

“Michigan is falling behind during the Whitmer administration,” Hohman told CapCon in an email. “Her policies, like increasing income taxes, forcing workers to pay unions, and demanding unreliable and expensive electricity generation has only made things worse.”

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.