Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Holy Crap: Art Prize Draws Thousands To Grand Rapids

Ok, I didn't know anything at all about this, but I'll go out on a limb and say this is a potential game changer for the entire history of the state of Michigan and perhaps the entire "Rust Belt".

To set the stage here, the statistics and evidence show Michigan to be in at the very least a full blown depression bringing to mind words like disaster area and catastrophe.

"Michigan's seasonally adjusted unemployment inched up a tenth of a percentage point in September to 15.3 percent, state officials said Wednesday.

The figure compares with a 9.8 percent U.S. unemployment rate for the same month. The U.S. Bureau of Labor is scheduled to update the unemployment rates for all 50 states later this month, but Michigan has had the nation's highest unemployment rate since early 2006."

Grim, awfull; but it don't tell the half of it.

Following the link in the story, brings us this headine- "Discouragement over bleak job market shrank Michigan's labor force by 79,000 during last year."

Yes by the government's sick and obviously dishonest logic, people who are too discouraged to look for work, are not considered unemployed. However, it doesn't stop there a whole range of other people aren't counted in that figure either.

Above is a chart of the nationwide U6 unemployment rate.

The U6 rate includes

U1: Percentage of labor force unemployed 15 weeks or longer.

U2: Percentage of labor force who lost jobs or completed temporary work.

U3: Official unemployment rate per ILO definition.

U4: U3 + "discouraged workers", or those who have stopped looking for work because current economic conditions make them believe that no work is available for them.

U5: U4 + other "marginally attached workers", or "loosely attached workers", or those who "would like" and are able to work, but have not looked for work recently.

U6: U5 + Part time workers who want to work full time, but cannot due to economic reasons.

But, Peter Schiff and others have pointed out that this figure also doesn't count a lot of people. If you own a "business or are self employed or an "independent contractor". You are not counted as unemployed. However, if your business is not doing well, you may have little or no income. Likewise, the retired are also seeing a huge decline in their savings.

Sorry, but it get's a lot worse. U6 unemployment/underemployment in Michigan, Oregon, California and Rhode Island is over 20%. Even by these criteria, Michigan is in a class by itself since it's had huge unemployment for many,many years.The main reason things aren't worse is that almost anyone with other options leaves the state.

"About 109,000 more people left Michigan last year than moved in. It is one of the worst rates in the nation, quadruple the loss of just eight years ago. The state loses a family every 12 minutes, and the families who are leaving -- young, well-educated high-income earners -- are the people the state desperately needs to rebuild.

Long treated as a symptom of Michigan's economic woes, outmigration has exploded into a massive problem of its own, a slow-motion Katrina splintering families, gutting state coffers and crippling an already hobbled economy, one moving van at a time."

I'll try to stop there but if you google.

Michigan Bankruptcy Rate
Michigan Foreclosure Rate
Michigan Homeless Stats

Or a long list of other measures, you will see a lot of bad stuff. Don't click images without some morphine on hand.

With all this in mind and in light of the years and billions spent efforts by the state, local and federal government to "fix things"; one wouldn't have guessed $500,000 dollars put up by a private individual as award money in an "American Idol style" art contest would have had much impact.

"Unprepared for the surge in ArtPrize visitors, some restaurants ran out of food and were forced to close early. Others stuck to their policy of being closed Sundays.

"Nobody had any clue this would happen," Doug Small, president of the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Wednesday.

Few hotels tracked ArtPrize traffic, Small said. Because the summer travel season was over and no other major events were taking place in the area, he said it's likely many extra hotel guests were there because of ArtPrize."

I will try to follow up on this.


Nora Jonnes said...

Unemployment in Michigan is affecting all the areas of society. I hope the opportunnities grow and the things get better.

John Morris said...

So do I. But "hope" is not the only thing required. When you pick doctors do you look for the one with the most hope?

Anyway, the Artprize seems brilliant!!!!