At Business Leaders for Michigan, we believe in basing actions on facts – not just what we think. That means we have to know how Michigan stacks up to our competitors to reach our goal of making Michigan a Top Ten state again.
Last week, we issued the 4th edition of our Economic Competitiveness Benchmarking Report showing where Michigan’s competitive and where we’re not. Strengths that we can build on include a greatly improved tax and regulatory climate and a more efficient government that is working better and more collaboratively than in the past.
Look at how we stack up to Top performing states on measures of innovation – we produce 30% more patents, our universities generate about 30% more research and development, and the value of our exports is 50% more than Top Ten states. Our capacity to innovate positions us well to meet more of what the world needs – a key characteristic of Top Ten states.
Now let’s look at where we need to do more work: only 21% of our 11th grade students are evaluated as being ready to enter college or start a career. That’s well below the Top Ten average of 31% – and even that’s not good enough. At a time when more jobs are requiring more people to have an education beyond high school, Michigan has one of the lowest percentages of people with an Associate’s degree or higher. We need to produce more talent to sustain our edge in innovation.
Michigan is making a comeback. We are more competitive. Our tax and regulatory climate is better, and that’s important. But it’s also not enough in today’s economy. It just gets us in the game. We need to build on our capacity to innovate by investing in our people and infrastructure. We need to act cohesively – as one Michigan when it comes to growing the economy. And we need to leverage our distinctive assets if we hope to accelerate growth.
The data tells us where we have to do better to reach that goal. We, the Business Leaders of this state, believe strongly that if we act on what the data tells us – build on what we’re good at and address what we’re not – Michigan will be a Top Ten state again.