Michigan's Comeback Continues As Unemployment Rate Drops

By Reinvention Blog | November 14, 2012


November 14, 2012

As Michigan's economic comeback continues, news broke today that state's unemployment rate dropped in October, all while total employment rose. From the Department of Technology, Management & Budget's report:

The state's labor force grew by 7,000 over the month. Michigan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October declined over the month by two-tenths of a percentage point to 9.1 percent. Total employment in Michigan rose by 13,000 in October, while the number of unemployed decreased by 5,000.
"Since 2011, several Michigan labor market indicators have displayed modest improvement," said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. "Over the past year, the state jobless rate has declined, job levels rose, and the size of the workforce has edged up."

To truly understand where Michigan is today, it helps to know where we've been. In August 2009, Michigan's unemployment rate peaked at 14.2 percent. Today, we're leaps and bounds ahead of where we were just a few years ago. As DTMB reports, "Through ten months of 2012, Michigan's year-to-date unemployment rate has averaged 8.9 percent, well below the 2011 annual average rate of 10.3 percent. 2012 will mark the third year in a row of jobless rate reductions."

The unemployment rate, though, isn't the only measure of Michigan's economic successes. The Great Lakes State has income growth that's 8th best in the country, GDP growth that's 6th best in the country, and an economy that's at a ten-year high. What's more, a new report shows that Michigan ranks 4th nationallyin leading the economic recovery.

How did we get here? Working together with Republicans and Democrats, Michigan balanced its budget two years in a row, eliminated the job-killing Michigan Business Tax, and ushered in the 12th-friendliest tax system in America.

In today's Detroit Free Press, columnist Tom Walsh says that Michigan's success should be a model for gridlocked Washington as they face the fiscal cliff:

Please allow us to make a humble suggestion as you prepare to meet Thursday in still another attempt to iron out your differences. Look over yonder to our Michigan -- yep, the place that was mired in a one-state recession for about seven years before the Big One slammed the whole nation in 2008. Look for an improbable tale of how Democrats like you, Mr. President, and Republicans like you, Mr. Speaker, can and did contribute mightily to an economic bounce back.

Walsh noted that when Rick Snyder was elected governor in late 2010, the state faced an upcoming budget deficit of $1.8 billion. He then assembled a bipartisan team to fix the problem and made significant policy decisions to get the state's budget under control.

Walsh's conclusion? Michigan has struck on a recipe for success:

"Economic challenges remain, of course, but Michigan is no longer an outlier. It's a state facing its demons and reversing course," Walsh wrote.