Michigan economy

Charley Ballard, Michigan State University economist, spoke with Cyndy about the health of Michigan's economy.
Michigan State University

Important signs are pointing to new life in Michigan's economy.

Brand-new reports tell us that Michigan's household income is up, foreclosure rates are down, and the poverty rate is down.

Some politicians and experts tell us the economy is beginning to bounce back. But here's the reality of the economic recovery: while jobs are available, they are not high-paying jobs.

Economist Dr. Charley Ballard of Michigan State University spoke to Cindy from East Lansing.

Last week, I talked about the Michigan House of Representatives voting to slash the state income tax over the next six years. I thought this didn’t make a lot of sense, given that the state is having a hard time paying for essential programs now.

Later that day, I talked more about this with the man I think has the best overall knowledge of our state’s economy: Michigan State University professor Charles Ballard, author of the best little book there is on the subject: "Michigan’s Economic Future."

Every so often, I run into someone with a simple solution that they believe would fix all our problems. Sometimes it is a flat tax. Sometimes it is single-payer health insurance.

But whenever someone stops me at the grocery store to explain their simple plan for saving mankind, or at least Michigan, all I can think about is H.L. Mencken’s famous maxim that, “for every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.”

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A Comerica Bank economist says Michigan's economy is making a comeback.   But clouds could be on the horizon.

Michigan's Population is Balanced

Jan 4, 2012

For the first time in six years, Michigan has a balanced population.  An even number of people moved out of… and into… the state in 2011, according to Atlas Van Lines.

The report says Michigan is one of only three Midwest states to have a balanced population, including Iowa and South Dakota.

Ken Darga is the state demographer. He said some of the stabilization came from those left when unemployment hit its highest, and are now returning.

“People who left Michigan in previous years for economic reasons, are now able to come back now that the economy is improving,” Darga said.

Darga also attributes the balance to students who left the state for college and returned after graduation.

Inform our coverage: Have you or someone you know left the Midwest?

Michigan’s economy will continue to stabilize in 2012.

That’s the prediction of Comerica Bank’s chief economist Robert Dye. Dye expects Michigan’s auto and furniture industries will continue to show some growth, but he expects economic growth will be uneven in Michigan.  

“I would say that central, west Michigan…the Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids…Ann Arbor…will probably show a little bit stronger gains than…southeast Michigan," said Dye.  

Dye said Michigan’s economic picture in 2012 will be heavily dependent on what happens in Europe and Asia. 

user: Jakob Montrasio / flickr

Governor Rick Snyder this week embarked on a trade mission to Asia. He’ll be visiting China, Japan, and South Korea. This is the first visit to China by a  Michigan Governor since the Engler administration. Here to talk about the what Michigan can gain from a relationship with China is Tom Watkins, Former State Superintendent who is currently a business and educational consultant in the US and China.

 

Labor Day

Sep 5, 2011

I hope you are out on a boat listening to this. Or getting ready for a barbecue, or working in the garden, or doing something you feel like doing. Depending on the weather, I may be playing soccer with my Australian Shepherd right now.

He, by the way, will win easily. But while I hope you are relaxing, I hope even more that you have a job to go back to tomorrow. Far too many people don’t.

True, the unemployment rate is down from last year, but it is still over ten percent in Michigan, which is far too high. And there’s something that worries me more than the numbers.

And that’s the number of adults in the prime of life who have been unemployed for a long time -- six months or more. That’s the most on record, according to the Michigan League for Human Services, and they should know. They’ve been trying to help folks in difficult circumstances for almost a century.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

West Michigan’s economy depends on turning around Detroit, an educated workforce and a better attitude. That’s the conclusion from leaders who took part in a community forum in Grand Rapids Wednesday night. The group included non-profit, business and government leaders.

More than anything, the group says people in Michigan need to adopt a more positive attitude.

Birgit Klohs heads The Right Place. She works to attract businesses and workers to West Michigan.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

About 500 people in West Michigan spent a couple hours Friday night in Grand Rapids, talking with their state representatives about how to fund public education. 

The forum was rescheduled from last week after a fire marshal shut it down in Lowell (20 miles west of Grand Rapids) because so many people showed up it broke the fire code of the building.

Last night the crowd was  passionate, at times interrupting and booing Republican lawmakers.

Is Right-to-Work next?

Mar 9, 2011
Getty Images

The labor battle seizing the Midwest right now is focused on the collective bargaining rights of public sector employees. But the fight over breaking these unions may have cracked open another door: the one labeled “right-to-work.”

So, let’s recap some of the big labor news that’s unfolded in recent weeks. Thousands of protestors flooded the capitals of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and, of course, Wisconsin.

Also – and this didn’t make headlines — In Grand Rapids, Jared Rodriguez began moving into a new office.

“In fact, I was unpacking boxes when you called,” he said.

George Erickcek is Senior Regional Analyst at Upjohn Institute
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Researchers at the Kalamazoo-based Upjohn Institute predict Michigan’s economy is stabilizing, but caution it will be a long road to a full recovery.

“We have to realize that what Michigan is coming out of is not a transformed economy, although all of us would like to think that’s true. We’re coming out a leaner economy, a little bit meaner and little bit more advanced but in fact just kind of a smaller version of what we were before, in my opinion.”

Senior Regional Analyst George Erickcek says full recovery will depend on the state’ ability to meet the demand for trained workers in growing industries. In a presentation to leaders in Grand Rapids Wednesday, Erickcek said 25 to 34 year-olds are not achieving the same education levels as the generation before them. That’s the case in Michigan and the nation.

Governor Granholm says she’s happy to leave office at a time when there’s good news about Michigan’s economy.

The Governor celebrated the addition of a second shift at Chrysler’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant Monday.

Granholm says the announcement shows the domestic auto industry “is back.” She also cited recent economic data showing an uptick in manufacturing.

The Governor did bemoan the State Legislatures’ failure to approve a new international bridge crossing between Detroit and Ontario.

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