The Business Climate Matters More Than Amazon

Number of jobs created apart from Amazon dwarfs that offered by retailer’s new project

At 50,000 jobs, the Amazon second headquarters project is the largest proposed expansion I’ve ever seen. Whether it will deliver on its promises is an open question. But even this large project pales in comparison to the number of jobs the economy creates and loses on a regular basis, and this turnover happens without fanfare.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan lost 184,414 jobs in the first three months of 2017. The state also added 211,095 jobs over the period. Job loss was down and job creation was up from the previous quarter.

In other words, even if the Amazon HQ2 project fulfills its expectations, it would not replace a single month’s worth of job losses in Michigan. Yet without press releases, hype videos or haranguing, the private sector is able to more than replace the jobs lost.

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Instead of trying to land a big project, policymakers should look at the basics of their business climate. The basics matter more.

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