Michigan auto jobs decreasing during Whitmer’s tenure, contrary to her claims

Whitmer counted jobs that either haven't yet materialized or haven't been counted yet by the government.

Updated: June 30, 2022 - 11:16pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office has staked a claim to auto job creation that counts her years in office and announcements about future projects.

Government data, however, shows her time in office so far has resulted in a net loss for an industry that is undergoing significant change with the emergence of electric vehicles. Time will tell if she indeed gets to the figure she's trumpeting.

Factoring in net job change via U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Michigan is down 1,600 jobs in April 2022 compared to Whitmer’s first term in 2019.

The BLS records jobs in the past, and doesn't include planned future job creation. The data counts auto and auto parts manufacturing jobs.

Whitmer has touted millions of incoming new auto investments. Her number counts jobs that either haven't yet materialized or haven't been counted yet by the BLS.

For example, Ford says it will create 3,200 jobs via a $2 billion investment, and General Motors says it will create 4,000 jobs via a $6.5 billion investment. However, weeks later, GM dropped its minimum jobs creation requirement to 3,200 jobs, at which the state won't claw back the money.

Whitmer's June 2 press release says Michigan has created nearly 25,000 auto jobs since 2019.

“We are thrilled that Ford is advancing its long legacy in Michigan by investing $2 billion to create 3,200 good-paying UAW jobs,” Whitmer said. “Today’s announcement marks another historic economic win for the state in recent months and will help our economy grow even stronger. I am proud that we came together to deliver economic development legislation that has helped us land huge projects, creating thousands of jobs. With this announcement, Michigan has added nearly 25,000 auto jobs since I took office and we continue to lead the future of mobility and electrification.”

Whitmer repeated the claim in a mobility fact sheet on June 21.

Her office hasn’t responded to The Center Square's request for comment.

While Whitmer’s office has supported millions in subsidies for electric vehicles, the state also lost out on 11,000 EV jobs when Ford chose to build $11.4 billion worth of factories in Tennessee and Kentucky in 2021.

However, Michigan closed on other EV projects fueled by taxpayer subsidies. For example, taxpayers footed $189 million to subsidize LG Energy Solutions to create EV batteries, which it says will create 1,200 jobs.

Whitmer’s proposed $74 billion budget aims to spend $374 million subsidizing EVs.