News Story

Whitmer admits: 25,000 auto jobs in Michigan were projected, not created

Whitmer’s claim of 25,000 new auto jobs has been fact-checked and found wanting, by a multitude of sources

After Gov. Gretchen Whitmer claimed Michigan has created 25,000 auto jobs during her tenure, Michigan Capitol Confidential found the real numbers to be quite a bit different.

When CapCon used Bureau of Labor Statistics data to compare January 2019 (the start of Whitmer’s term) to April 2022 (the latest data available), it found Michigan had not gained 25,000 jobs. Rather, it had lost 1,600.

The number of auto jobs in Michigan varies from month to month, fluctuating so wildly that it’s a wonder any governor could try to claim credit.

Soon after CapCon’s look at the numbers, The Washington Free Beacon and the Detroit Free Press joined in with fact-checks of their own. Most anyone who did an internet search on the claim that Whitmer had helped create 25,000 jobs would soon see evidence otherwise.

A Whitmer aide, Bobby Leddy, explained the number to the Free Press, admitting that the governor was taking credit for job announcements, not jobs worked by human beings. He called the number a “conservative estimate.”

Using job announcements, rather than job data, is how a “conservative estimate” could be off by 26,000 jobs.

On Monday, Whitmer modified her claim, but didn’t abandon it.

In a press release about Stellantis’ plans to invest $83 million in its Dundee Engine Plant, Team Whitmer wrote: “Since 2019, more than 25,000 projected jobs in the automotive and mobility sector have been announced in Michigan.”

"Projected" and "announced" are doing a lot of work in that sentence. It's all another way of saying, “They’re not real jobs, so don’t go looking for the data.”

It’s good Whitmer has dropped the fiction that Michigan has 25,000 more auto jobs than it had when she took office. What she had said simply wasn’t true.

Better still would be dropping the claim entirely, not admitting it’s based on projections.

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.