Maine Democrats, including U.S. Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Michael Michaud, have mischaracterized a liberal think tank’s report to attack Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s economic policies.
“First of all what the governor’s talking about – him creating jobs, actually the private sector’s jobs in the state of Maine – Maine ranks 50th in the country as far as the creation of private sector jobs,” Michaud said in February. “So that is not is factual, what the governor says.”
Michaud’s claim, which has been echoed by Democrats in Augusta and liberals around the state, has its roots in a report from the Maine Center for Economic Policy, a Democratic think tank.
However, Michaud’s comment takes MECEP’s report wildly out of context by ignoring the column in which the rankings are controlled for population growth.
When controlled for population, Maine ranks 41st for total job creation from January 2011 to January 2013. In total private sector job creation for that period, when controlled for population, Maine ranks 34th.
Under LePage, Maine’s economy has created private sector jobs at a greater rate than Connecticut (46th), Delaware (47th), New Jersey (44th), and even neighboring New Hampshire (36th), according to MECEP’s report.
Controlling for population growth is key when comparing Maine’s economy to other states’ as Maine is one of few states experiencing population stagnation.
By not adjusting for population growth – or by failing to disclose the context of the job statistics they are using – Democrats are abusing statistics to promote a partisan agenda. In fact, the report shows Maine’s job creation since LePage took office in 2011 surpasses that of New Hampshire when population growth (or lack thereof) is controlled for — a remarkable thing considering the comparative advantage the Granite State has due to its low tax burden.
This is not the first time Michaud has fibbed about job creation in Maine under the LePage administration.
In September, The Maine Wire caught Michaud telling tall tales in his campaign’s kickoff Web video.
The Democrat claimed in the video that Maine had seen a decrease in total job creation since the previous year: “If you look at the Maine being one of the three states that’s actually lost jobs, uh, over the last year, the uncertainty, uh, is real.”
But that claim was not supported by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data or data from the Maine Department of Labor.
As a result of The Maine Wire’s reporting on the lie, the main stream media eventually caught on and the Michaud campaign quietly edited the false job claim out of the video. Even Dirigo Blue, a thoroughly progressive blog, agreed that Michaud was invoking false facts in his ad.
Maine’s unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in February and remains below the national average.
See MECEP’s report below. Note: The column to the far right is controlled for population growth.
Editor, Maine Wire