The Myth of Michigan Big Government II

Quite frankly I was surprised at the data in my last blog about the big disparity in public sector employment in Michigan this decade compared to the nation. Nationally public sector employment up around six percent, in Michigan down six percent from 2001-08.

If Michigan had mirrored the country we would have gained 40,000 jobs,rather than losing 37,000. That means that 77,000 more Michiganians would be working if we had a public sector growing as fast as the nation.

I asked Don Grimes to do a deeper dive into the data. Turns out the trend holds true at all levels of government: federal, state and local. Federal employment in Michigan down 4.7% – primarily postal workers – up 0.3% nationally. State employment down 1.4% here, up 4.3% nationally. And local government employment in Michigan down 7.3% compared to up 8.3% nationally.

K-12 public school districts (not charters) are part of local government employment. There the difference in employment growth is even more dramatic. Down 12.2% in Michigan, up 7.5% nationally.

And for the myth that the state bureaucracy has continued to grow while the private economy collapsed, think again. Taking out education institutions and public hospitals included in state employment, direct employment by state government here has declined by a whopping 17.4% compared to being virtually flat nationally.

Turns out  that an important contributing factor in our nation leading unemployment rate is that public sector employment – just like private sector employment – declined here from 2001-2008 while growing across the country.

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