Michigan Recovery Among Tops In Nation
An expansive survey of economic activity across the U.S. offers an endorsement of the strength of the Michigan recovery and a boost for the promising prospects for the state’s continual business growth.
Results of the Business Facilities annual report rank Michigan among the top states in employment recovery since the end of the Great Recession, automotive jobs and automotive manufacturing strength. Further, the report lists Detroit and Grand Rapids as among the top regions in the country for economic growth.
The rankings are published in Business Facilities’ August issue. To read the report, please visit: http://businessfacilities.com/2014-business-facilities-rankings-report/  and/or http://businessfacilities.com/2014-business-facilities-rankings-report-metro-global/ 
“The state’s economic policies have had a dramatic and measurable impact in growing and attracting businesses,” said Michael Finney, CEO and President of Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state's marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, talent and jobs, tourism and overall economic growth. “The evidence in the Business Facilities report is verifiable and compelling. It’s nice to see others around the country taking note of our progress.”
Business Facilities’ annual examination of the nation’s economic leaders among locales, states and regions is often among the many considerations by corporations in appraisals of places to grow and locate a business. The publication’s 10th annual Rankings Report assesses the “rapidly evolving economic development landscape” and places emphasis on verifiable performance.
There are many reasons for Michigan’s economic turnaround, said Finney. He cited the reinvention and financial success of the automotive industry in Michigan, replacing a convoluted business tax with a streamlined corporate income tax, becoming a right-to-work state and creating a world-class business-friendly environment, from offering performance-based incentives to businesses and attracting foreign investment to eliminating more than 1,500 burdensome regulations.
Employment recovery leader
Michigan ranks second behind South Carolina as “employment recovery leaders” in the survey. Most economists cite June 2009 as the end of the Great Recession.
Since December 2010, Michigan has created 295,500 private sector jobs, led by new jobs in manufacturing and professional and business services, according to Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives. Michigan leads the nation with 120,000 new manufacturing jobs since 2009.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Michigan has plummeted from a five year high of 14.2 percent to the current 7.7 percent. The 6.5 drop in percentage points is more than any other state. Michigan’s unemployment rate in June of 2009 stood at 7.2 percent.
Auto jobs leader; top state for manufacturing strength
The survey notes Michigan is the number one state for automotive jobs and continues to “rule the roost as supply chain job leader” with 500,000 auto-related jobs, which represents 22 percent of the U.S. auto industry workforce.
According to the Business Facilities, Michigan ranks sixth in automotive manufacturing strength. Originally a category in the survey that reflected a state-by-state vehicle production scorecard, in recent years it has broadened to consider growth potential, industry trends and commitments by major automakers.
“The rankings are a snapshot, and there are many reasons to believe Michigan is heading to the top spot,” said Nigel Francis, senior vice president of Michigan Automotive Office, established last fall to serve as a catalyst for attracting auto-related companies and developing the state’s automotive industry, which includes 63 of the top 100 North American auto suppliers, and 375 research-and-development centers, representing three-quarters of all U.S. automotive R&D spending.
From 2009-2013, auto suppliers and automakers have invested heavily in Michigan. In that four-year period, auto suppliers spent $5 billion, while automakers have committed about $14 billion, according to the Center for Automotive Research.
“The presence of major automakers, suppliers and ground-breaking research positions Michigan to be the top U.S. automotive state, and the global capital of the auto industry,” said Francis.
Business Facilities ranks the U.S. second to China in the category of Global Automotive Production Leaders.
Detroit’s renewal; Grand Rapids among export growth leaders
Detroit is listed as the 10th best metro region for economic growth potential, according to the Business Facilities Metro Rankings. The criteria for the ranking, however, isn’t readily apparent other than the “crucial role exports are playing in the Recovery.”
Detroit is listed eighth among Exports Recovery Leaders, and fourth in Exports Growth Leaders; the Grand Rapids metro region ranks ninth.
Beyond the growth in exports from metro Detroit, the region – especially downtown Detroit – has been mentioned for its leading-edge entrepreneurial activity. In June, Detroit was cited as one of several key U.S. cities cultivating “urban innovation districts” in a white paper report by the Brookings Institution, an independent Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
The Brookings report, according to MEDC’s Finney, confirms the positive impact of ongoing efforts by the state of Michigan to assist in the development of the Detroit economy through support of a confluence of start-ups, business incubators, mass transit and university-based research that targets the commercial market.