Lies, damn lies, and statistics
Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog
Rick Snyder has embarked on a concerted effort to make you believe that he has turned Michigan’s job situation around. His latest farcical campaign centers around the fact that the number of people with jobs in Michigan is up 6.6% since 2009. Woo hoo! High five! Can I get hell yeah?!
Here’s his Facebook post:
Sixth highest job growth rate in the country since 2009! Oh, baby!
Calm down. I know you’re excited. It sounds damn good, I get it. Coupla things though.
First of all, Governor Snyder didn’t become Governor Snyder until 2011. In other words, he’s taking credit for job growth that happened two years before he even took office. And, considering that nothing he did could possibly have had an impact for the better part of a year, he’s actually taking credit for job growth that happened close to THREE YEARS before he had anything to do with it. THREE. YEARS.
The numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tell the story. In August of 2009, the number of employed Michiganders (seasonally adjusted, nonfarm workers) was 3,841,200. In August of 2013, the most recent month for which we have data (thanks to Gov. Snyder’s Republican pals in Congress and their government shutdown), there were 4,097,700. That is, indeed, an increase of 6.6%. However, if you base it from when he actually took office in January 2011 when there were 3,910,500, the increase is a bit less: 4.8%. If you add six months, generously assuming he started to have an impact some time around then, the number is 3,958,600 representing an increase of a mere 3.5%. Not quite the 6.6% the Gov. Snyder is crowing about.
Here’s how it looks in graphical form, from the Bureau of Labor statistics website. You can see why he picked August of 2009 as the baseline, even though he wasn’t governor for almost two more years:
But the story goes beyond that. Here’s a chart that compares the number of employed folks nationally vs. the number of folks employed in Michigan:
Even if you’re being generous, Michigan isn’t faring any better than the whole country. In fact, starting about a year after Rick Snyder took office, the slope of that chart flattened out considerably, becoming clearly shallower than the national trend. In other words, Michigan Republicans aren’t all that (or the bag of chips) when it comes to job growth. In fact, if it weren’t for the Obama administration coming to the rescue of our vehicle manufacturers, something that happened primarily because Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm took a personal role in bringing in the cavalry, we’d be in deep doo right about now, not just plugging along at or below the national average.
But, wait! There’s more! These numbers are all about the number of jobs. They don’t tell the full story which is the rate of unemployment. Get a load of THIS chart:
Funny thing, that chart. While the national unemployment rate is taking a noticeable downward turn, Michigan’s is going UP. In fact, as we’ve noted before, it’s been going up for three straight months now. The September numbers will be out sometime soon, delayed thanks to the Republican government shutdown. We can only hope the number will be less than the current 9.0%.
By the way, at 9% we have the 4th worst unemployment rate in the nation, right behind Rhode Island, Illinois, and Nevada.
Look closely at that chart. Republicans rammed Right to Work for Less through during the inflamed duck session in December of 2012. Less than half a year later, the unemployment rate started going up. It’s odd, right? Where ARE all those jobs we were promised? Some of them, apparently, are leaving Michigan and going to another Right to Work for Less state, Indiana. Both Exo-S and Braun have moved jobs to our southern neighbor. It’s a true race to the bottom, just as was predicted by so many.
Rick Snyder wants you to believe he’s fixing things in Michigan. What he’s doing is making it very profitable for corporations at the expense of Michigan workers. Profits may be up but wages are not and the unemployment rate is.
Don’t be fooled by this glib corporatist. Things are NOT better under Rick Snyder and his drunk-with-power Republican pals. And we all know it.
No amount of lies or damn lies or statistics will change that.