Snyder takes economic victory lap in last days

    Rick Snyder and Brian Calley at their year-end press conference, Dec. 11, 2018 | Ken Coleman

    As Gov. Rick Snyder prepares to leave office in less than two weeks, he gets to exit with some solid economic news.

    The office of the self-proclaimed “nerd” announced Wednesday that almost 560,000 private-sector jobs have been created under his administration dating back to 2011. The news release also noted that unemployment has held steady at 3.9 percent, from above 11 percent when he took office following the Great Recession.

    “I ran for governor eight years ago because I wanted to make a difference; I wanted a state where our kids didn’t have to leave to find work,” Snyder said in a statement. “I wanted to spur job creation, reinvent our state, and help make Michigan a place where families could build a successful life. I am proud of what has been accomplished and the unemployment rate being at its lowest rate in 18 years. Not only are kids staying in Michigan, we have families being reunited as more Michiganders have come home.”

    Manufacturing has led the job gains, adding 143,000 jobs, followed by professional and business services with 121,000 jobs. Health care, hospitality and construction also saw gains during the last eight years.

    Snyder’s tenure was marked by policies largely seen as business-friendly, such as a corporate income tax cut early on. He has routinely called Michigan the “comeback state.”

    To that end, data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that Michigan experienced modest population growth last year. The state attracted about 19,400 people last year, or an increase of just under .2 percent.

    That growth rate still lagged compared to the nation’s overall growth rate of 0.6 percent, led by Nevada and Idaho.

    With the state needing to fill about 811,000 new jobs by 2024, the largely stagnant population in Michigan could create problems down the road, as Michigan gets older and fertility rates decrease, as Crain’s Detroit noted earlier this year.

    Nonetheless, state officials appear to be pleased with the news that Michigan saw population growth.

    “It’s more than just a fluke,” the state’s demographer, Eric Guthrie, told the Detroit News. “We seem to be moving in a positive direction.”

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels.

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