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Here's what it's like to live off tips in Michigan

May 28, 2014
Andrew Stawarz / flickr

Denise Gleich is a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry in Michigan.

She's raised three daughters on the wages and tips she earned, but says the industry has changed and she wants out. 

Tipped workers will make 60% less than minimum wage under legislation Governor Snyder signed into law on Tuesday. 

The majority of tipped workers are women.

I took the State of Opportunity story booth to a recent gathering of women talking about economic security.

Gleich was the first woman to walk into that room.

Read and listen to her story here.

Gallup

I mean, it's not like we're living in Hawaii, after all.

Michigan is "above the national average" for the number of people who say they'd rather live somewhere else, according to the Gallup poll.

Here was the question they put to the 600 people they reached by phone in Michigan:

"Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?"

MLPP

That's for a two-parent family with two kids and where the two parents are working.

Peter Ruark and Cameron Merrill compiled the numbers for the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Their report states that "making ends meet" means just covering the bare necessities.

If you and your partner have two kids, and you make $52,330 a year, the authors say you have just enough to cover your expenses for things like housing, food, healthcare, clothing, child care, transportation, and taxes.

It's equal to each person making $12.85 an hour at a full-time job. 

That's just one living situation the MLPP report looks at. It also breaks down the amount you would need to earn each year to "make ends meet" if you were:

  • single - $21,570
  • a single parent with two kids - $44,164
  • a two-parent family with two kids and you are both working - $52,330
  • a two-parent family with two kids and only one parent is working - $26,720

(They assume child care is not needed in a two-parent family with only one person working.) 

They also broke down the difference in need based on where you live in Michigan. Scroll over the interactive map below to see their wage estimates for each county.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

It’s time for our Thursday check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

His focus today was on someone who says he's got "the best job in America." Tom Lewand is the man in the Mike Duggan administration whose mission is to find jobs for Detroiters.

Daniel Howes joined us today to tell us more about this job.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today we looked at the long-range forecast for Michigan as a whole and what it will take in terms of policy decisions and education to keep Michigan from having a future as dark and dismal as a Dickens novel.

Two writers who've explored these questions for Bridge Magazine joined us today: Ron French and Nancy Derringer.

*Listen to the full interview above.

There’s a new group called the Economic Justice Coalition which is seriously considering trying to get a proposal on the ballot to raise the minimum wage in Michigan.

You might think that would make Democrats happy. Their gubernatorial candidate, Mark Schauer, came out in favor of a minimum wage hike two months ago.

But Democratic leaders aren’t thrilled with a ballot campaign, for reasons I’ll explain in a minute. Now, it’s not that they don’t want a higher minimum wage.Virtually all of them do. Schauer said if elected, he would try to raise Michigan’s from the present $7.40 an hour to $9.25 an hour over three years.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

The data and numbers crunchers have been working away, trying to peer into the future to figure out what lies ahead for Michigan over the next 10 years in terms of jobs and pay.

And the verdict: Michigan's economic axis is tilting west.

Rick Haglund's recent story for Bridge Magazine is headlined: "Future job growth favors West Michigan."

And Don Grimes is with the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy at the University of Michigan.

They both joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

bgottsab / flicker.com user bgottsab

Manpower says slightly fewer Michigan companies plan to hire new employees in the beginning of next year. 

The human resources company surveyed Michigan business owners for its first quarter Employment Outlook Survey.

Manpower says 18% of Michigan companies plan to hire new workers between January and March. That’s down from about 22% in the fourth quarter of this year.

sideshowmom / Morgue File

Ask anyone here at Michigan Radio who walks by my cubicle: I love my husband, kids and grandson. I love the countryside in County Cork Ireland, and I love Roger Daltrey of The Who.

Why do they know that?

Because all around my desk, I've tacked up photos of my family, of the fields of West Cork, and of my meeting with the legendary Who singer.

It's something I've always done at my desks throughout my career.

But an intriguing study by University of Michigan researchers suggests I might not be doing myself a favor with such "visible expressions" of my personal life.

Joining me is one of the five co-authors of the research paper, set for publication in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks is an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business at UofM.

Morguefile.com

Michigan needs to fill 274,000 jobs by 2018 in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  And according to a report released by the Global Talent Retention Initiative (GTRI) of Michigan, the state's international college and university students are key to meeting that demand.  

The report says that Michigan's international students are three times as likely as Michigan students to major in those fields.

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.

St. Lukes N.E.W. Life Center

Governor Snyder says the Community Ventures program created 1,000 jobs in the past year. It's a pilot program in Saginaw, Pontiac, Flint and Detroit focused on bringing jobs to the long-term unemployed.

Mike Finney is the president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which partnered with government agencies to bring jobs to those cities. He says the Community Ventures program mostly provides manufacturing jobs.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

Can a Michigan investment fund make big money by investing only in mid-size Michigan companies?

That’s the idea behind the Michigan Prosperity Fund.

It’s the brainchild of Michigan native Martin Stein, founder and CEO of private equity firm Blackford Capital.

Stein previously based Blackford out of LA, but says he started noticing a trend: about 70% of the companies he invested in were in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

“So, on the business side, it made a lot of sense for us to be closer to where we were investing in companies,” says Stein.

Dokka Fasteners / www.dokkafasteners.com

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow wants to take a Michigan workforce training program nationwide.

The Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNTJ) is a partnership between Michigan businesses and community colleges. Through the program, community colleges front the money for workers to go to school. Once workers are employed, their state income taxes pay the college back.

Stabenow says federal money means the community colleges will get paid back much faster. She says it will also double the number of workers and businesses in the program.

www.detroit15.org

The Michigan League for Public Policy released its Labor Day report today. The report shows Michigan  increased the number of workers earning a poverty wage.

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:

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):

Unemployment line in California
Michael Raphael / Flickr

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.

State of Michigan

Michigan's unemployment rate for May 2013 remained unchanged from the previous month - 8.4%. If you compare it to May 2012, the rate is down - the unemployment rate in May 2012 was 9.2%.

After the Great Recession, the unemployment rate in Michigan began to drop from its high of more than 14% in 2009, but so did the number of people in the overall "workforce" in the state. The workforce, or the total number of people both working or actively looking for work, has only increased slightly in recent months.

This month, the workforce grew by 28,000.

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.

Twitter

One of leading topics of statewide conversation is how to keep young professionals and college grads in Michigan.

Lately on Stateside, we've heard talk of "placemaking," ways to make cities more attractive to young people.

That's one of many ideas being tossed around in the quest to prevent "Brain Drain."

Writer Natalie Burg recently published a guest column in Bridge Magazine. At the age of 31, she is writing from the perspective of those young people we're trying to keep in Michigan. And she thinks some of these strategies aren’t going to do the trick.

Natalie joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Kate Davidson / Changing Gears

Here's a question to consider: are we doing the students of Michigan a disservice by steering them to the jobs that businesses are demanding in today's world?

It's certainly a big push for Governor Rick Snyder.

But MLive columnist Rick Haglund has some misgivings about this growing push to match courses with what businesses want in Michigan grads.

He joined us today from Birmingham, and we asked him why he thinks this approach could backfire in the long run.

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan’s employment picture brightened a bit in February.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget says the state’s jobless rate dipped slightly in February, down one tenth of one percent, to 8.8%.   Michigan's unemployment rate has been declining since last August. 

In real numbers, total employment increased by 15,000 jobs over the month while the number of unemployed declined slightly by 3,000.

http://rsqe.econ.lsa.umich.edu

Today, the annual Washtenaw County Outlook event will bring  economists, businesses, and government officials together to address the current and future economic prospects for the county.

Lizzy Alfs of AnnArbor.com reports many were surprised to hear an economic forecast that Washtenaw County is expected to increase its job growth.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman heard arguments today for and against Michigan's constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage and civil unions.

There was some thought that the judge would rule on the case today. Instead, he decided to wait until after the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on two unrelated same-sex marriage cases.

On today's show, we got an update on the court case in Detroit.

And, we heard about what's working to increase high school graduation rates. One Wayne County school district has made a dramatic difference in how many of its kids graduate from high school.

But first, we talk "re-shoring" with Tobias Schoenherr, a professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University, and Tom Harrison, CEO of Michigan Ladder Company based in Ypsilanti.

"Re-shoring is the opposite of "outsourcing" and "off-shoring."

Listen to these interview and more by clicking on the audio above.

All Children's Hospital / mymodernmet.com

This post from Katie Hosmer on MyModernMet.com caught my eye. 

You've got to clean the windows, so why not do it with a little flair?

The photo to the right is from All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL.

Window washers from Clearwater's High Rise Window Cleaners got dressed up in Spider-Man costumes and then made several trips from the top of the building to the ground, washing windows and waving at ecstatic patients along the way...As the hospital states, "There were actually three Spider-Men on the job and their high-rise moves were the hands-down hit of the day."

And here's a video of superhero window washers descending on Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

H/T to Zach Feinstein

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder was on hand to help celebrate as the Michigan Strategic Fund approved state-paid incentives to 14 new business projects.     

The governor said lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a skilled workforce should make incentives less necessary in the future. But he said state assistance still has to be part of the mix. 

Police prepare for large protests today in Lansing

Dec 11, 2012
david_shane / flickr

Dozens of State Police have gathered in a hallway in the Capitol’s lower level, cordoned off by blue curtains. This is their base of operations in the building this week as hundreds – maybe thousands - of protesters are expected to fill the upper levels.

In one closet, police have stashed helmets and other riot gear.

Capitol Facilities Director Steve Benkovsky hopes the demonstrations will stay peaceful.

"Everybody has a right to come in here and voice their opinion. And we'll deal with it the best we can and let them voice their opinion," said Benkovsky.

State and local police plan to close a number of streets around the state Capitol.

They will also limit the number of people allowed in the building.

Larry D. Moore / Wikimedia Commons

And I forgot to mention Devil Dogs, Donettes, and Sno Balls.

Hostess Brands announced this morning that they're going out of business and laying off around 18,500 employees.

Hostess higher-ups said a strike by bakery workers was a big part of the decision for the shutdown, and that they don’t have the “financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike.”

Union leaders called the announced shutdown a Bain-style decision – “a microcosm of what’s wrong with America.”

In the meantime, Ho-Ho production is winding down. From the NYTimes:

The last batches rolled off Hostess production lines early Friday morning, according to Tom Becker, a company spokesman, and no new products will be made for the time being.

The Times points out that Twinkies might not be a thing of the past, as Hostess Brands will likely be auctioned off to others.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan college graduates are entering a sluggish job market.

Michigan State University’s annual Recruiting Trends report finds employers are not confident about the nation’s economic direction in 2013.    Many are worried about problems with Europe’s economy.   There’s also concern about the nation's deeply divided political leadership.   That's all putting a damper on employers’ hiring plans.

Phil Gardner is the director of MSU’s College Employment Research Institute.

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