If you’re wondering about the State of the State of Michigan, you were wise to skip Governor Rick Snyder’s speech on Thursday.
The governor bragged about the state’s job growth but that’s just a tribute to the national economy when even the state with the third worst unemployment rate in the nation is adding jobs.
As far as the real state of our economy MLive‘s Rich Haglund did a much better job of describing reality in his column Saturday:
A monthly state labor market study based on October jobs numbers shows that Michigan ranks in the bottom tier of states in important areas such as employment, the labor force participation rate, per capita income and economic output per capita.
Forget about Michigan’s unemployment rate, which at 9 percent in October was the third-highest state jobless rate in the country.
The real jobless figure in the third quarter of this year ending Sept. 30 was 15.8 percent, according to the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.
That figure comes from the “U-6” measure, which includes those who have given up looking for work and those who are working part time but are seeking full-time work.
Just 60.3 percent of Michigan working-age adults were in the labor force in October, the lowest rate among the Great Lakes states and 39th lowest in the country.
But the most worrisome concern is for those who will eventually become the heart of Michigan’s work force—its children.
Nearly 560,000 Michigan children—about one in four—were living in poverty in 2011, according to the annual Kids Count report from the Michigan League for Public Policy.
And nearly 40 percent of them qualified for federal food assistance last year because their families were living on incomes under 130 percent of the federal poverty rate of about $31,000 a year for a two-parent, two-child family.
Our Chris Savage summed up all the things the governor took credit for that he had nothing to do with: the auto recovery, funding for education and “putting the ‘rapids’ back in Grand Rapids.”
What the governor has accomplished enormous tax breaks for corporations, tax increases for the working class and retirees followed by the most divisive anti-union law in the state’s history, which he claimed would create jobs. You’ll note he neither mentioned that law nor one job it has created in his speech.
We know what the governor will continue to run on an auto rescue that was opposed by the presidential candidate he endorsed. And he’ll probably begin to brag about Medicaid expansion for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders that his fellow Republican Terri Lynn Land is running to take away.
The governor knows that people like the things Democrats accomplished despite Republican obstruction. Now he just needs to make the case for why they shouldn’t vote for a Democrat who will keep those things in place and actually begin to fix the damage the Republicans have done to the middle class.