just for conversation purposes with regard to claims of degradation of employment from Dec '09 to now... that is inaccurate according to the BLS.
Dec '09 (smoking ban law passed)
labor force - 4,836,079
employment - 4,136,416
unemployment - 699,663
unemployment rate - 14.5% <- peak
May '10 (ban in effect)
labor force - 4,884,074
employment - 4,221,828
unemployment - 662,246
unemployment rate - 13.6%
Otc '10 (Most current figures available)
labor force - 4,819,011
employment - 4,200,224
unemployment - 618,787
unemployment rate - 12.8%
And, coincidentally enough out pops this today.
LANSING, November 29, 2010 - Michigan's new Smoking Ban is taking a heavy economic toll on many bars and restaurants, according to data gathered directly from businesses in the hospitality industry over the past few months.
The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association recently conducted a survey of its members who hold liquor licenses, and the overwhelming majority of responses indicate declines in business beginning May 1, 2010, the date the Smoking Ban went into effect. The collected data also supports the MLBA's predictions that a Smoking Ban will hit small, independent businesses the hardest.
"The Hospitality Industry had been weathering the recession relatively well," said Lance Binoniemi, Executive Director of the MLBA. "Sales over the past couple years were slightly down across the board, as they have been in most sectors of the economy. But beginning on May 1, that all changed."
Industry-Wide Sales, May-July 2010
Change vs. 2009
The Smoking Ban caused an immediate impact on many businesses, with "regular" customers opting to either cut their visits short or stay home altogether. Promises and predictions by Smoking Ban supporters that new, non-smoking customers would make up for any losses have gone largely unfulfilled.
Particularly alarming in the survey results are the numbers coming in from the smallest businesses in the industry -- those with annual sales less than $250,000. These are the businesses that are least likely to be able to survive a significant disruption on their bottom line, and unfortunately they are being hit hardest in the wake of the Smoking Ban.
Small Business Sales, May-July 2010 (under $250,000 annual sales)
Change vs. 2009
"Anti-smoking groups continually cited the fact that only about 20 percent of Michiganders are smokers, and suggested time and time again that forcing businesses to go smoke-free would open up the other 80 percent of the market," said Binoniemi. "Our objection to those assumptions unfortunately fell on deaf ears, and now the hard truth is showing up on the bottom lines of small business owners across the state."
Supporters of the Smoking Ban routinely cite polling data that indicates upwards of 70 percent of Michigan residents support the ban. Unfortunately these numbers come from an online survey that was promoted largely by anti-smoking groups, and the poll itself allowed respondents to submit answers repeatedly. But even fairly-collected, unbiased data would not give a clear picture of how the ban has unintentionally devastated many businesses.
"Unfortunately, not every resident of Michigan is a frequent patron of the kinds of bars and restaurants that have been hurt by this ban," said Binoniemi. "While we certainly respect the opinions of the purported 70 percent who support the ban, it is clear from sales numbers since May 1 that people who actually spend time and money in these establishments don't feel the same way." The disparity between the whole of the general public, and the subset of the public that makes up customers of bars and restaurants, was largely ignored by those in favor of the Smoking Ban.
"We've said from the beginning of Smoking Ban debates in Michigan that people will vote with their wallets, and we're seeing exactly what customers of our businesses think of the Smoking Ban," said Binoniemi. "A lot of hard-working, dedicated business owners are suffering, and many may have to close their doors."
Prior to the Smoking Ban, roughly 5,500 foodservice establishments in Michigan had chosen to go smoke-free on their own, based on market conditions and customer demand, and more were going smoke-free all the time. "The free market was working every day to give non-smokers more options in Michigan," said Binoniemi. "The main results of the Smoking Ban have been to hurt privately-owned businesses and limit the personal choices of responsible, law-abiding adults, plain and simple."
Yep. Welcome to Michigan's new reality.