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Posted on Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

U-M economist cuts Michigan jobs forecast in half for 2012

By Lizzy Alfs

University of Michigan economist George Fulton is predicting slow job growth in Michigan in 2012, as he cut his April jobs forecast nearly in half this week.

Fulton expects job gains of 33,000 during 2012, down from his previous estimate of 61,500.


George Fulton, U-M economist, has co-authored an economic forecast for Washtenaw County since 1986.

Melanie Maxwell |

For 2011, Fulton lowered his job gains forecast by 3,400, predicting a total of 61,200 new jobs. The largest job gains are in the service industries, led by health, professional and business services, with jobs in the government sector continuing to shrink, he said.

Fulton pointed to a temporary surge in employment in the beginning of 2011, with job growth in the final three months of the year “coming in close to zero.”

“The Michigan economy is continuing its recovery since its rise from the bottom in late 2009,” according to the forecast, “but it has not been a smooth climb, especially during 2011.”

Fulton's prediction for the state is similar to his March 2011 forecast for Washtenaw County.

In his annual "Economic Outlook Report for Washtenaw County" in March, Fulton said job growth in Washtenaw County started in late 2009 and its momentum will gradually increase through 2011.

The gradual pace means that Washtenaw County will still have fewer jobs in 2012 than in 2008.

Although the recovery is slow, Fulton said it’s supported by “steadily rising vehicle sales and an improved U.S. economy over the next two years.”

Fulton’s forecast comes after Gov. Rick Snyder’s recent tax reforms, which are intended to spike job growth. The reforms replace the controversial Michigan Business Tax with a 6 percent corporate income tax that exempts most small businesses, equaling a $1.7 billion tax cut.

The forecast gives no indication as to how Snyder’s tax cuts could affect the economy

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 4:32 a.m.

The Presidents jobs bill is a start, but according to Jeffery Sachs from Columbia, we need to start a ten year education plan to ready American workers for future jobs. Manufacturing jobs could come back to the US but it will be highly automated and require educated workers that fix the machines rather than unskilled workers who run the machines. Needless to say, our current publicly funded education system is being torn down, even as I speak, by Republicans who are making "hard choices" with no thought about the future of our education system. As money for education is being reallocated to tax breaks for businesses, we lose the option of affordable education/retraining for our unemployed workers. It's a downward spiral that will leave our state at a distinct disadvantage to other states who have seen the light and are strengthening their education systems. Michigan's job outlook will never be good as long as we have Neanderthals running our state.

Basic Bob

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 9:37 a.m.

There are plenty of educated people in this country to do the required jobs. Someone has been doing an extraordinary job of convincing these educated people that they don't need to produce value in their chosen careers. There are many older educated people still working in manufacturing, but hardly any young people. They all got jobs pushing piles of other people's money around. This is necessary to a degree, but it is not productive. Instead of attempting to "train" unskilled older workers to do jobs beyond their ability, we need to reallocate our younger and smarter work force before it is too late to save what made America an economic juggernaut. It was productivity, not overstated shareholder equity and phony real estate profits.


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

CORRECTION: In my previous comment I should have abbreviated The American Jobs Act as "AJA" and not as "ACA" (for the unrelated Affordable Care Act). Apologies.


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

Governor Snyder mentions jobs rarely because unemployment is not important for him. His claim that reducing taxes on corporations and the wealthy will cause job creation has been discredited. For a detailed explanation about why jobs will not be produced from tax cuts read the following article: <a href=""></a> Governor Snyder has hope that SPARK and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will finance new technology enterprises which will produce jobs. So far MEDC has spent $191 million to fund 23 companies which has only created 1800 jobs. Most jobs require technical skills and training not possessed by any of the 500,000 unemployed in Michigan. The Governor is unlikely to ever support occupational retraining for those out of work as his actions so far has been to eliminate financial support for education. The American Jobs Act (ACA) offers an opportunity to re-employ many workers on infrastructure projects commensurate with their skills. It will also fund police, firemen and teacher positions lost through the redirection of state and local tax dollars. Of course, the assistance will only come if Congress decides to pass the bill. Voters should contact their representatives in Congress and instruct them to take up the ACA and pass it so that we can finally get our out-of-work neighbors employed again.


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 4:11 a.m.

You are giving us an opinion piece from as proof lowering taxes won't bring business to Michigan? And then tout the President's solution of borrowing money to fund street resurfaces. At best than may put people to work a little longer, but it does not create new jobs. The states doing the best are judged by factors including business friendliness and cost of doing business. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Also right to work states are doing better. If you can come up with an alternative plan to get more folks in Michigan working, lets hear it. I don't think the Gov has done enough is creating a business friendly Michigan


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 1:17 a.m.

mojo: The American Jobs Act disperses money to many projects aimed at increasing employment. Here is a link so that you can inform yourself: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> No money is distributed to unions. What reference can you provide for the &quot;$220,000 for each job&quot;? Do you have any idea what a shovel ready job means? We have a huge national debt requiring large interest payments. How would you change the national budget to reduce spending? You are the &quot;53%&quot; of what? I do not understand.


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

The American Jobs Act is simply more money going to unions and 'aint shovel ready jobs' - just like the last stimulas. Worse still, the jobs are all one year at best costing app. $220k/ea - It is a facade. The Feds already spends nearly $3 &quot;Trillion&quot; a year (just try to imagine that amount) - 40% borrowed. As of 7 September 2011, the Treasury Department spent $434 Billion of your money just on interest payments to the holders of the National Debt -For 2011 debt payments will reach some $650 Billion - yep, that is nothing but interest payments. Washington has a 'spending problem' I am the 53%.


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

Exactly. Thank you.


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.

What planet are they from? Michigan is not recovering,highest foreclosure in the country.Can anyone tell me why the banks will not work with people.


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

Actually, Michigan is 7th in foreclosure, behind Florida, Utah, Georgia, Arizona, California and #1 - Nevada, the highest, per


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

My forecast : More pain in the global economy, more nasty politics at all levels, and growing unhappiness. This will be followed by more campaign ads on TV than we have ever seen before.


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

I wonder what event happened in 2008? Maybe an election? (Hope and Change) &quot;The gradual pace means that Washtenaw County will still have fewer jobs in 2012 than in 2008&quot; It seems like the whole US economy took a dump then also!


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

Thanks Rob. Using facts on some people can be a strain though, as they tend to prefer myth and propaganda. XMO, I am wondering if you can cite me a historical example of another president inheriting TWO wars, a recession (which started in 2007 BTW, <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> AND a major collapse of several banking institution? I don't think any other president has ever faced such a mess left by the previous one.

Rob Pollard

Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

Great point. The job market was doing great until Obama got into office in January 2009. It was steady growth and then, boom, it went down. Oh wait, that's the exact OPPOSITE of what happened. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> If you would like to blame Obama for the US economy &quot;taking a dump&quot; starting in January 2008 (you know, 10 months before the election and 12 months before he took office), I look forward to your other sage analyses.

David Briegel

Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

Oh give me a break. The Governerds tax cuts putting more money in the hands of the wealthy will all be trickling down on us just like the autumn leaves! I can just feel it happening now. OOoops, I just woke from my nap!


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

Obama is given a trillion dollars and a wide birth (years really) to turn around a troubled national economy, but Snyder is supposed to turn around the MI economy on a dime.


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

What people will do for money. Unbelievable


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

Glad I don't count on his &quot;forecast&quot; for my investments!


Fri, Oct 7, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

Why not just put out a new one every week? Or wait until 2013 and give your 2012 forecast. Here is my forecast. Pitiful. And I will stick by mine for at least a year!