economy

Stateside
5:02 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Looking at Michigan's 'shadow economy'

Andy Flickr

We turn now to what’s known as the “underground economy.”

When jobs are scarce, people will do whatever they can to put a meal on the table, pay the mortgage or the rent. Whether it's odd jobs, selling plasma, doing home repairs and getting paid under the table, people are doing it.

One economist gave a best-guess estimate of two trillion dollars worth of this underground activity in the nation last year -- that’s nearly eight percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Reporter Lynn Moore wrote a piece about the shadow economy in Michigan and she joined us today.

*Listen to the audio above.

Opinion
8:23 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Good news for Michigan’s economy

Lessenberry commentary for 11/22/13

Half a century ago, America suffered one of the most traumatic events in our history: The assassination of President Kennedy. But while it is important to remember that, it might also be good to consider that there is a bunch of good economic news today. Good news, especially for Michigan.

Yesterday, University of Michigan economists presented their annual November forecast. They saw good things ahead, with the national economy growing almost twice as fast over the next two years as now.

Two experts from the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics predicted five million new jobs over the next two years. Unemployment, they predict, will fall from just over seven to about six percent.

Meanwhile, they predict the automakers will sell half a million more units next year than this, more still in 2015, and the housing market will also grow.  Inflation will stay low and oil prices will remain steady. This is all very good news, if true.

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Stateside
4:01 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

What business leaders have to say about Michigan's economy

Detroit skyline.
user: jodelli Flickr

This week, the Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s most prominent business roundtable, met in Detroit.

The group offered an in-depth “report card” of how Michigan is recovering from the implosion suffered during the recession. They also outline what it’ll take to boost Michigan’s presence as a money-generating state.

We talked with Daniel Howes, a business columnist with the Detroit News, about Michigan's current business climate — and where things go from here.

Economy
4:34 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Government shutdown hurt confidence in economy, study says

Holiday shoppers.
Lizzie Williams Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

Americans are less optimistic about the economy in the wake of the partial government shutdown earlier this month.

That information is coming from the University of Michigan’s "Index of Consumer Sentiment", which measures how confident consumers are in their economy.

Experts say the latest drop in consumer sentiment may impact the holiday shopping season.

From the Associated Press:

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Politics & Government
3:54 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Fiscal health of local goverments gradually improving, but many still in bad straits

Percentage of jurisdictions overall reporting they are better or less able to meet their fiscal needs in current year compared to previous year, 2009-2013.
Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy UM's Ford School of Public Policy

Michigan's cities, towns, and villages are seeing an overall improvement in their ability to meet their financial needs, but hundreds continue to struggle. That's according to an annual report by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy.

The report finds that smaller municipalities are having a tougher time than those with populations of more than 30,000. And municipalities in central Michigan and the southern lower Peninsula have been particularly hard hit.

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Business
5:46 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Few women in top corporate positions in Michigan

The report found that "women in Michigan Fortune 500 companies hold 17 out of 152 or 10.8% of executive officer positions compared to 14.3% at all Fortune 500 companies."
inforummichigan.org Wayne State University

Twenty eight of Michigan's top 100 public companies have no women as directors, executive officers, or in the ranks of the five highest-paid employees. Even among companies with women in top positions, the numbers are small, and the rate of change glacial.

That's according to a report recently released by the Inforum Center for Leadership in Michigan. The report was co-authored by two officers of Inforum and two faculty members at Wayne State University's School of Business Administration.

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Politics & Government
12:28 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Meijer and Chrysler to hire more workers in Michigan

Meijer plans to hire more workers soon.
Meijer

Meijer announced today that they're planning to hire 4,400 part-time workers in Michigan (more in other states). The Grand Rapids-based company says they're hiring in response to company growth and in "in preparation for the fall and holiday selling seasons."

More from their press release:

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Offbeat
1:47 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

The question everyone is asking about the royal baby

A royal kiss that led to a royal baby.
user: whitneyinchicago Flickr

We know the question everyone has been asking about the impending arrival of a new member of the British royal family. 

No, of course it's not, will it be a girl or a boy. We are, after all, public radio consumers. What we really want to know is: What will the economic impact of the royal birth be on the U.K. economy?

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Economy
1:22 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

An average family in Ann Arbor needs $68,140 to get by

What is takes for families to get by in cities around the country.
EPI

That's the estimate for a family made up of two parents and two kids.

The numbers are calculated by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank based in Washington D.C.

You can look up your specific living situation with their updated "Family Budget Calculator."

EPI says the calculator estimates the annual income a family needs for a "secure yet modest living standard."

It estimates expenses related to housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes. And by their calculations, families at the poverty level set by the federal government are nowhere near the EPI's "getting by" threshold.

The budgets, updated for 2013, are calculated for 615 U.S. communities and six family types (either one or two parents with one, two, or three children)...EPI’s family budgets offer a higher degree of geographic customization and provide a more accurate measure of economic security. In all cases, they show families need more than twice the amount of the federal poverty line to get by.

Of the 20 areas the EPI examined in Michigan, the Ann Arbor area came out on top as the most expensive place to live.  Rural Michigan was the least expensive.

Here's a look at the Michigan areas EPI put into their calculator, from most expensive to least expensive (for two-parent, two-child families):

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Stateside
5:18 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

How does job growth in Michigan compare to other states?

Unemployment benefits will run out for millions of Americans this spring if Congress doesn't extend the unemployment insurance program (an unemployment line in California in 2007).
Michael Raphael Flickr

An interview with Daniel Howes.

Economic development leaders in Michigan like to talk about the number of manufacturing jobs created in the state in the last couple of years. But Michigan is not keeping up with the job growth of some other states as the nation recovers from the Great Recession.

It's Thursday, which means we talk to Daniel Howes, business columnist with the Detroit News.

Howes joined us today to discuss Michigan’s anemic job growth.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
6:03 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Evaluating Michigan's anemic job growth

A job search workshop
flickr user Daniel Johnson Flickr

An interview with Charles Ballard and Rick Haglund.

The Snyder administration has maintained its "relentless positive action" to reinvent Michigan. Lansing restructured taxes to give businesses better than a billion dollar tax break to encourage job growth in Michigan, and Gov. Snyder approved the right to work law which proponents insist will bring jobs to Michigan.

There has been some growth in jobs, but it’s been kind of anemic.

Charles Ballard, a professor of economics at Michigan State University, and Rick Haglund, a freelance writer for Bridge Magazine, MLive, and a blogger at MichEconomy.com, joined us today to discuss the issue. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:06 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

To help Michigan's economy, we need to start 'thinking blue'

The Great Lakes from space.
NASA

An interview with John Austin, the director of the Michigan Economic Center.

The term "economy" is used constantly in news stories or opinion pieces about Michigan, its trials and tribulations, its budding recovery.

But John Austin would like to get us all thinking about the "blue economy," the one that is based on the Great Lakes and water-related industry.

John is the director of the Michigan Economic Center, which is affiliated with the Prima Civitas Foundation, and he joined us in the studio today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:59 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

It wouldn't be summer without a search for Jimmy Hoffa. We spoke with Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry about why we're still fascinated by the Hoffa disappearance all these years later.

And, we talked about the huge economic changes to mid-America with the author of the new book, "Nothin' But Blue Skies: the Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland."

And, Donna Posont, the director of Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind, joined us to discuss her group’s new project, Michigan Birdbrains.

Also, a diver found a bottle containing a message from nearly 100 years ago at the bottom of the St. Clair River. He joined us to talk about his discovery.

First on the show, the term “economy” is used constantly in news stories or opinion pieces about Michigan, its trials and tribulations, its budding recovery.

But John Austin would like to get us all thinking about the "blue economy," the one that is based on the Great Lakes and water-related industry.

John is the director of the Michigan Economic Center, which is affiliated with the Prima Civitas Foundation, and he joined us in the studio today.

Economy
5:28 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Michigan universities producing entrepreneurs faster than national average

U of M's new venture accelerator will connect startups with talent and funding
Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan

Michigan’s three biggest universities are producing young entrepreneurs twice as fast as the national average.

That’s according to a report by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group released today at a conference of business leaders and politicians on Mackinac Island.

Debbie Dingell is chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors.

“What’s clear is that we in Michigan have young people with ideas, and we’re giving them a university system that’s giving them the tools that they need to actually go out and start that business,” said Debbie Dingell, chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors.

The report says almost half of the new businesses started by college grads have been started or acquired in Michigan.

University officials say they’ve revamped their curriculum in recent years to encourage entrepreneurship among students.

Politics & Government
5:08 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Lawmakers seek to shorten the amount of time to stop a bank foreclosure

A foreclosed house in Michigan.
Rebecca Williams The Environment Report

Opponents of a plan to change the foreclosure process in Michigan say it would put more people out of their homes and hurt property values.

They were in Lansing today to protest a package of bills in the state Legislature.

The legislation would shorten the amount of time homeowners have to stop a bank foreclosure from six months to two months.

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. says banks have wrongly foreclosed on thousands of properties across the state.

He says it often takes months for people to prove they don’t deserve to lose their home.

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Stateside
3:38 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Estimating the state of Michigan's proverbial bank account

Talking money at the State Capitol in Lansing.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

An interview with Chris Gautz.

Chris Gautz, the Capitol Correspondent for Crains Detroit Business, spent hours this morning at the Capitol where the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference took place.

That's where lawmakers, budget officials, and economists come together to make their best educated guess about the future of the state’s economy, and check-in, basically, on the state’s finances.

Political observers, and "political nerds" (like our Executive Producer Zoe Clark), love these meetings.

For others, however, it’s hard to get super excited about hours of numbers, finances, and "economist-speak."

Chris Gautz joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
2:42 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Michigan economy in 4th year of recovery, housing up

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Economists say Michigan's economy is turning around for the fourth straight year in part because the housing sector is on the mend.

University of Michigan experts told state lawmakers Wednesday that employment grew significantly faster in the past two years than previously estimated.

Michigan's unemployment rate dropped 1.3 percentage points in 2012 and is expected to continue gradually declining.

The downside is the state's jobless rate is high, above where it was before the national downturn in the economy in 2008.

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Politics & Government
10:43 am
Fri April 26, 2013

How much money should Michigan keep in its piggy bank?

Piggy bank.
Alan Cleaver Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers don't agree on how much money to set aside in Michigan's savings account.

The rainy day fund was nearly empty when the Republican governor took office after a decade of job losses and budget crises. He successfully built it back up to more than $500 million and is hoping to add another $75 million.

Snyder says a healthy cash reserve is good for the state's credit rating and prudent in case there are future economic downturns.

But the GOP-led Senate next week is expected to approve a budget without extra money in the account. Some legislators say savings are robust and the $75 million should go to other priorities instead.

The House is more in line with Snyder. Lawmakers will negotiate their differences next month.

Stateside
4:54 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

'Mobile canning' comes to Michigan breweries

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan was recently ranked fifth on USA Today's list of craft brew states in the country.

Over the past three to four years Michigan has seen a large growth in microbrewies.

There has been recent  buzz within the microbrewery scene in Michigan with news that the state's first 'Mobile Canning' line is being launched.

Microbreweries around the state will be able to get cans of their brew onto store shelves without having to invest in costly canning equipment.

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Stateside
4:35 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

A look into the fundraising conditions for Michigan nonprofits

Michael Montgomery
montgomeryconsultinginc.com

It has been a challenging few years for nonprofit groups in Michigan. Whether they depended on private donations or corporate donations or both, the Great Recession hurt organizations all over the state.

But as our state gradually recovers, so are the nonprofits, especially in certain areas of Michigan.

Montgomery Consulting of Huntington Woods is out with a new survey of fundraising conditions in Michigan.

It gives us a quick look at who's on the rebound and who is still struggling.

Today Michael Montgomery joins us from Huntington Woods. He gives us a look at Michigan's regions and where nonprofits are doing the best in terms of meeting their fundraising goals.

He also gives us some tips for those who run nonprofits in Michigan and people who are prospective donors.

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