MICHIGAN: THE NEW DUST BOWL?
April 16, 2007
Even at the peak of economic booms, it is never difficult to find laid-off workers who face difficulties and are delighted to tell reporters what they think about the boss, says Alan Reynolds senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
Lou Uchitelle of the New York Times is no exception, says Reynolds. He recently wrote an article on laid-off workers in Detroit. For any reporter determined to find bad news in the labor market, Michigan was definitely the place to be:
- The February unemployment rate was 4.5 percent for the nation but 6.6 percent for Michigan, which had lost 55,300 jobs in a year.
- For the nation, payroll employment was 2 million higher than a year before; no other state lost jobs.
Further, Uchitelle noted that 42,300 people left Michigan last year, which sounds like a sensible thing to do since every other state was adding jobs, says Reynolds. To Uchitelle, however, nothing and nobody should ever move. Change is just too scary.
Admittedly, Michigan is not a pretty economic picture, but it is not nearly as dark as the Dust Bowl image Uchitelle attempts to paint, says Reynolds. Uchitelle's urgings for European like "job protection" through regulation and sanctions will only backfire, making employers extremely reluctant to hire in the first place, and particularly afraid to give inexperienced young people a chance.
The last thing the people of Michigan should be asking for are the policies that produced unemployment rates of 8.6 percent in France, 9.3 percent in Germany and 11.5 percent in Belgium.
Source: Alan Reynolds, "Michigan As The New 'Dust Bowl'? Only In Fertile Mind Of The Media," Investor's Business Daily, April 11, 2007.
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