While we’re on the subject of politicians’ double-speak, let’s turn our attention to jobs. Specifically, the number of jobs that supposedly will or will not be created by the NITC project.
A recent video on the state’s official website, features Lt. Gov. Brian Calley in front of a screen that exclaims “10,000 jobs.” In a piece that accompanies the video, Calley writes: “This bridge is a great deal for Michigan. Right off the bat, the project will create thousands of new jobs – including 10,000 Michigan jobs related to the project.”
It’s a claim we’ve heard both Calley and Gov. Snyder repeat often in their attempts to sell the government bridge project.
So we started to wonder where exactly that number came from…
An excerpt from a June 2012 report from the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) – a report sponsored by NITC advocates – is telling (emphasis added):
Press releases and public statements regarding the NITC project quote general figures of 10,000 to 13,000 construction jobs in Michigan that support another 20,000 to 30,000 jobs in the state’s economy for a total of 30,000 to 40,000 jobs. An important note to these job numbers is that the employment figures are for total person-year jobs and are not total jobs created each year. They are also not strictly Michigan-based jobs, but include all U.S. employment created, some of which will be in surrounding states.
Let’s break this down.
1) “Press releases and public statements…” are the primary source for the 10,000 figure? Hmm…
2) “…these job numbers is that the employment figures are for total person-year jobs and are not total jobs created each year.” For those not accustomed to translating politician-speak, a “person-year” job is the equivalent of one full-time job for one year. If the same person works the same job for two years, it is counted as two one-year jobs. So actual jobs created is a much smaller number than “person-year jobs.” Of course, the governor and lieutenant governor don’t bother to make that distinction.
3) “They are also not strictly Michigan-based jobs…” Another important caveat the governor and lt. governor fail to mention. In fact, they insinuate the jobs would go to Michigan workers. (Never mind the fact that a Canadian entity will be making final decisions on who gets construction jobs.)
So what do we know for sure?
The governor’s numbers don’t add up when it comes to Michigan jobs created by the NITC. We do know, however, how many Michigan jobs the project will cost us. According to DRIC’s Environmental Impact Statement, the NITC would destroy “approximately 43 businesses that support 685 jobs.”
The report goes on to say “the loss of jobs will be predominately borne by minority and low-income population groups” – a point underscored by Friday’s Michigan Radio piece.
The bottom line: If politicians like Brian Calley can’t get their facts straight, maybe the people of Michigan should be given the chance to decide the matter for themselves.