News Story

Despite billions in corporate welfare, Michigan’s jobs market still back of the pack

The Michigan economy since the COVID-19 pandemic has not been a pretty picture

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted March 24 that she stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Michigan workers.

But Michigan’s job market is among the worst in the nation according to employment numbers released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Michigan employment is still down 101,419 jobs from its pre-pandemic level, a 2.1% decrease.

Michigan lawmakers have authorized some $5 billion in corporate welfare since 2020. But Michigan’s slow jobs recovery stands in contrast to states that give out far less cash. 

Government handouts are not the answer, says James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. States that have seen the best recoveries from the pandemic are not those who gave taxpayer money to corporations.

“Michigan lawmakers ought to stop trying to land the next business project and work to make the state a better place to do business,” Hohman wrote in a recent blog post. “Instead of handing out big checks to a handful of companies, they can lower the income tax rate for everyone. They can improve tax rules to encourage business growth. They can eliminate harmful occupational licensing requirements.”

Four states have fared worse than Michigan in job recovery: New York, Maine, Hawaii and Maryland.

Thirty-one states have fully recovered from job losses incurred during the pandemic. A few states have even seen an increase over pre-pandemic employment levels, including Utah which is up 8.6%, and Idaho, up 6.9%.

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.