DETROIT, Mich., April 27, 2016 —Michigan’s top economic leaders today issued a series of findings that forecast the state’s readiness to fill high-paying, high-demand jobs with educated and skilled workers.
And, while data show the state is generally prepared to meet the demand for high-wage jobs over the next three years, the ability to meet demand over the long-term is less certain.
“High-paying jobs—the ones that require more education and training—are going to continue growing in Michigan in the near term while low-skill, low-wage jobs are expected to contract.” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President and CEO. “However, most of the jobs in Michigan are still low-skill and low-wage.”
Rothwell said annual openings for low-skill occupations currently outpace openings for high-skill jobs.
“This is going to change soon, however, as jobs requiring only a high school diploma are expected to drop by more than 19,000,” Rothwell said. “Conversely, jobs requiring an Associate’s degree or higher are expected to grow by 21,000—the beginning of a trend that is going to grow exponentially in the years ahead.”
This ground shift in workforce needs will be accelerated by demographic trends, including an aging workforce, a shrinking talent pipeline and low educational attainment.
“Michigan residents are 10th oldest in the nation,” Rothwell said. “Coupled with a declining population of K–12 students, a low percentage of 25–34 year olds, and continuing low educational attainment, we face a significant talent gap over the long term.”
Other key report findings include:
- In 2015, there were over 4.5 million jobs in Michigan spread over 724 different occupations.
- Two-thirds of these jobs required a high school education or less and paid an average hourly wage of $17.68—19 percent below the statewide average.
- The average hourly wage for jobs requiring an Associate’s degree or higher paid an average hourly wage of $34.27, which was 58 percent more than the state average and nearly double the wage for jobs requiring a high school diploma or less.
- For high school graduates, the key to higher earnings is more training—the more you learn, the more you earn. Only 19 percent of openings that require no, short, moderate, or long-term training pay above the statewide average hourly wage. In contrast, 66 percent of openings that call for an apprenticeship exceed the state average.
- Supply shortages over the next few years span all levels of education and training and both STEM and non-STEM disciplines.
Rothwell said many of his organization’s initiatives are aimed at addressing this projected shortfall.
“We are eager to continue partnering with state and local leaders to help implement the Building a New Michigan Plan,” Rothwell said. “The future success of each and every Michigan worker is dependent upon our efforts to compete, invest and grow in ways that make sense.”
A full copy of Business Leaders’ Insights: Michigan’s Talent Forecast is available at
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