After serving as the engine of America’s economy during much of the 20th century, Michigan has spent the past decade bouncing back from an unprecedented time of recession and change.
Although our recovery has been faster than most other states, our performance is still below our potential. If we’re going to aggressively unleash our capabilities and retake the economic lead, we’ve got to compete, invest and grow like never before.
Here’s a look at our competitive position, and what we can do to make Michigan stronger.
Current “Top Ten” states for jobs, income, GDP and population:
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Opportunities and Challenges Ahead
Stronger Job Growth
Michigan’s overall business climate is improved—but we’ve still got a long road ahead. Michigan’s business climate was worst in the nation in 2009. Today, we rank 25th among the 50 states. Newly-enacted incentive programs put us in a stronger position to compete for some of the good jobs that have been going to other states—now it’s time to put renewed energy behind our efforts to bring new growth and opportunity to all Michigan residents.
Improving Fiscal Management
Michigan government is generally smaller and costs taxpayers less. Total state and local government spending in Michigan is six percent lower than the peer average and 20 percent lower than “Top Ten” states. Michigan also has taken steps to reduce its legacy costs, which will advance the state’s fiscal stability immensely.
Competitive Tax Environment
Our state’s tax structure is one of the strongest in the U.S., with an overall tax climate that ranks highly among all states. Coupled with actions to reduce costs and lower the state’s regulatory burden, Michigan is once again on the right track.
Demographics Work Against Us
Michigan is the ninth oldest state in the nation, with a median age of 39.7. This is particularly alarming when one considers that our state ranks 47th for out-of-state enrollment of college students and 17th for net migration of working age adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Aging Infrastructure Needs Work
Michigan’s infrastructure is aging, putting families and businesses at risk. We rank 36th for broadband penetration and 45th for energy grid reliability. We also rank 38th for percentage of urban roads in poor condition and 37th for percentage of bridges in poor condition
Automotive Past Can Build a Stronger Future
Michigan is the capital of the global automotive industry and the place for businesses, researchers and entrepreneurs shaping the future of mobility. We rank first in the nation in mobility patents and first in the nation in connected and automated vehicle projects. Home to 96 of the top 100 auto suppliers and 76 percent of North American automotive R&D, we are well positioned to lead in the emerging mobility sector.
Innovation Boosts Entrepreneurism
Michigan ranks high on most innovation measures (R&D, patent activity), and our ability to export our products and technologies has remained strong. Our university R&D is still among the nation’s “Top Ten” states (5th) and our patent activity is right behind it (10th). Michigan’s job now is to translate these ideas and innovations into new opportunities through entrepreneurship and venture capital.
Michigan Can Grow Faster
Michigan’s population has stabilized, but more cohesive, consistent efforts to grow the state are needed. After losing population in 2009, 2010 and 2011, Michigan has had five straight years of either zero or positive growth. The state can benefit from coordinated economic and talent development efforts, as well as initiatives that help make Michigan an aspirational destination to live, work and raise a family.