Thursday, January 5, 2017

Whither Michigan's Economy?

Today I ran across an article in Bridge Magazine that kicked me into getting back on the blog. It's a great, data-based article by Mike Wilkinson, titled "Michigan's Economic Axis Tilts Away from Detroit". (As before, all links are at the end of this blog entry.)To whet your appetite, here are some quotes that set the scene:
Plentiful jobs and rising wages have been the byproduct of a dynamic, growing economy in the Grand Rapids region, making it the strongest economy in Michigan and one of the faster growing metropolitan areas in the country...
Meanwhile, the hardest-hit and slowest to recover has been the tri-city bay area: Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw. Why? The economy depends heavily on chemical and automotive business, and though both have stabilized, they've stabilized at a much lower level of output that before the Great Recession.
The [Saginaw] region's leaders are hoping to lure more educated workers, more people with doctorates who might invent the next great thing that the region's workers could build.
A glance at education statistics show how important a college degree can be to the local economy: those counties with the highest percentage of workers with a bachelor's degree or better were in the regions doing the best.
In Washtenaw County, part of the Ann Arbor metropolitan area, 55 percent of adults have a college degree; In Oakland (part of the Detroit region), 44 percent have degrees; Kalamazoo County, 39 percent, and Kent County, 34 percent.
This business about the value of education is certainly not news! But with an incoming administration that has made far-reaching promises about restoring good working-class jobs, it bears a lot of repeating: good-paying, low-skill jobs will continue to get fewer and farther between.

How do we stack up against the rest of the country? the world?

Wilkinson did a great job comparing Michigan regions with each other. But what about the rest of the country and the world? Again, our incoming administration has promised prosperity by raising tariff walls and physical walls to cut us off from foreign competition.
This brings to mind the oft-repeated image of the ostrich hiding its head in the sand. It doesn't work for the ostrich, and it won't work for us.
Let's face facts and compare our Michigan economy with the rest of the country and the world. Let's learn what's going on, take the best of it, give it a Michigan twist, and soar with it.

To learn more:

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