News Story

While Whitmer Touts Job Gains, Michigan Has Yet To Recover From COVID Shutdown

Bureau of Labor Statistics undercuts governor's sunny auto employment claims

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is exaggerating claims of how many auto jobs have been added since she took office.

"The state the midst of a manufacturing boom," the governor's office announced Wednesday, "having added 21,600 auto jobs and counting since Governor Whitmer took office and many other high-skill, in-demand jobs in fields ranging from semiconductor chips to software to agriculture."

That figure also appeared in a May 9 in a press release announcing that Whitmer had declared May 9-13 “Economic Development Week.”

“In partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, we have added 174,000 jobs year over year, including 21,600 auto jobs since I took office, which has helped bring our unemployment rate down to a low of 4.4%, and we continue to deliver on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to working families,” Whitmer said.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate the actual figure is less than one-tenth what the governor is claiming. The number of jobs in the sector known as “transportation equipment manufacturing” has increased only slightly during her term, going from 187,300 in January 2019 to 189,300 in March 2022. That’s down from the peak level of 344,000 jobs in June 2000.

While Whitmer boasted she has the state’s economy moving, the state has still not recovered all the jobs it lost from the COVID-related shutdown of March 2020.

Michigan is down 122,400 jobs since the pandemic began in March 2020. The 2.7% decrease is the 15th-worst for states. By contrast, 13 states have more jobs now than in March 2020.

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.