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What's a governor's role in creating Michigan jobs?

Michigan Municipal League

We are hearing it a lot this election cycle: Gov. Rick Snyder says he's created 300,000 private-sector jobs. His Democratic opponent, Mark Schauer, promises he will create more and better-paying jobs if he's elected.

But cutting through the campaign promises, what role does a governor really have in creating and keeping jobs for Michigan?

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham asks that question in his latest report for Michigan Watch, and Donald Grimes is with the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy.

With regard to how much influence the governor has over job creation, Graham says,“The role of the governor is not as significant as you might think." He notes that the governor has previously said it is not the government’s job to create job growth but to create a better environment.

Grimes says two-thirds to three-fourths of jobs created are a result of the recovery of the national economy. Grimes says that, over his term, Gov. Snyder is potentially responsible for 50,000 to 60,000 jobs. Grimes notes that this increase is a drastic improvement over the Michigan job market a decade ago, which lost 50,000 jobs a year.

Graham notes that Michigan is leading the way in job recovery, but that the state is still not at the level it was before the recession. Both Graham and Grimes note that there hasn’t been income growth.

“The typical person is not getting ahead and it looks like they may not get ahead for years to come,” Grimes says.

Both Graham and Grimes agree the middle class has fared the worst. "They have not had any recovery since 2009,” Grimes says.

*Listen to Lester Graham and Donald Grimes discuss job creation.

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