Economic Competitiveness Study Sees Michigan Muscling Towards Top

In the latest economic study analyzing Michigan against the other 49 states, the Wolverine State continues to climb. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Economic Competitiveness study places Michigan at No. 20 in terms of economic competitiveness, up from No. 47 in 2012.

The 2018 study is the seventh consecutive analysis of Michigan’s economy compared to the rest of the United States. Conducted by Northwood University’s McNair Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, it ranks each state using Northwood’s proprietary State Competitiveness Index, comprised of more than 200 variables measuring various areas of economic performance in a set time for all 50 states, and assigning a ranking to each one.

“This study offers the most detailed and honest assessment of our state’s economy,” said study co-author Timothy Nash, senior vice president and Director of the McNair Center at Northwood University. “This most recent study shows that the automotive industry, tourism and agriculture are Michigan’s strongest economic drivers.”

The ranking of No. 20 uses economic data from 1998 until 2017. Nash says the ranking improvement was based on a strong macroeconomic environment and a competitive tax and regulatory environment.

“Michigan’s relatively strong performance in terms of debt and taxation and regulatory environment outweighed a relatively weaker performance in workforce composition, cost and labor and capita formation,” he said.

“This, our seventh, study for the Michigan Chamber Foundation is validation of the events and factors that fuel the Michigan economic comeback and are allowing it to pick up steam,” said Keith Pretty, co-author, president and CEO of Northwood University.

While Michigan has been performing well among Great Lakes Region states, a number of Michigan metropolitan areas within Michigan have been outperforming the rest of the country as well. Detroit, Grand Rapids-Wyoming and Midland, three of the largest metropolitan areas in Michigan, have actually seen GDP growth from 2011 to 2017.

“If the Midland, Michigan, metro area were a free and independent country, it would be the 146th largest economy in the world, slightly smaller than Bermuda,” said Nash. “If the same were true for Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metro area, it would be the 42nd largest economy in the world, slightly smaller than Chile and slightly larger than Finland.”

Grand Rapids-Wyoming, according to Nash, would be the 75th largest economy in the world, slightly smaller than Panama and slightly larger than Costa Rica. The analyses are based on annual current dollar GDP and 2017 World Bank data.

Bob Thomas, executive director of the Michigan Chamber Foundation, says the growth trajectory of Michigan’s metropolitan areas is a promising sign for the state.

“Michigan’s economy continues on a path of strong economic recovery and growth since the end of the Great Recession,” said Bob Thomas, executive director of the Michigan Chamber Foundation Michigan, driven by tax and regulatory reform and strong public policy, has been the eighth most competitive state economically since 2011 according to the McNair data.”

Rich Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, also highlighted the importance of tax climate, an indicator of how a state’s tax laws affect economic performance.

“We are pleased to see Michigan’s improvement as an economy again this year,” he said. “We are especially pleased to see that Michigan’s economy is now ranked eighth nationally when measuring performance since 2011.”

The full study is available via the Northwood University McNair Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

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Midland is experiencing the second strongest economic growth per capita in the nation, according to a study soon to be released by the McNair Center at Northwood University.

The seventh annual report states that Midland, Grand Rapids and Michigan are national leaders in real gross domestic product growth per capita when measured over the years 2011-2017.

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