Michigan company towns: The mixed blessing of having a single major employer

Jun 25, 2013

When you hear the term “company town” you might think of DOW and Midland, Ford and Dearborn, Kellogg and Battle Creek, or Whirlpool and Benton Harbor. But too many cities in Michigan have realized just how dependent they are on a single industry when the major employer shuts its plant down - just think of GM and Flint, or the Ford plant in Monroe, or any other number of towns that have lost major employers during Michigan’s so-called lost decade.

Mid-sized and smaller towns have known for some time that they need to diversify the employment base, but that’s a job with a lot of obstacles.

George Erickcek, a senior regional analyst with the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, and Richard Longworth, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and author of the book “Caught in the MiddleAmerica's Heartland in the Age of Globalism," joined us today.