Traditionally Michigan’s economic strength was built upon manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism. Home to Detroit, long known as the world’s automotive capital, Michigan also produced the distinctive Motown sound. So, while manufacturing is in the state’s DNA, so too are music and the arts. So, what is driving the economy forward in 2022, and how much does the future owe to its past?
Automotive manufacturing remains key to Michigan’s economic growth. The state is home to 19% of all US auto production. In addition, Michigan has the highest concentration of mechanical and industrial engineers, four times higher than anywhere else in the country. Of the top automotive suppliers, 96 out of 100 have a presence in Michigan, and 60 are headquartered in the state.
Motown records brought us some of the greatest musicians from the 1960s and 1970s. The music targeted social issues. It created a voice for African American people through the lyrics of songs such as “What’s Going On”. But it wasn’t all about social activism; tunes like Dancing in The Streets and Baby Love filled the dance floors and remain party favorites now.
Music has fuelled Detroit for more than fifty years. Not only the birthplace of Motown but the city is also cited as being the breeding ground of Techno and was home to hardcore punk rockers like Patti Smith and Iggy Pop’s Stooges. Fifteen groups or solo artists from the city have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. These include the most familiar of names like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, Alice Cooper, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Holland-Dozier-Holland, and George Clinton’s Funkadelic / Parliament.
While the music industry is no longer one of the leading industries in the state, its influence continues to run through everything and has made Detroit famous throughout the world. This brings the tourist dollar to the city, and the city’s bustling night economy is booming again.
Michigan’s Democratic Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has pledged to help revive Michigan’s film industry. The program, which Governor Rick Snyder terminated in 2015, had seen more than $300 million of production spending. In addition, businesses not directly involved in the film industry benefited from having film crews working in the state. The movie industry’s money flows into catering, restaurants, transportation, hotels, and accommodation. It is hoped that Michigan’s movie business will get a kick start early next year.
Tech might have changed since Michigan put the world on motorized wheels over one hundred years ago, but tech is still very much in the State’s driving seat. Michigan claims to have the highest concentration of engineering talent in the US. There are around 80,000 workers employed in technology cluster industries, with much talent concentrated in computer systems design services and customer computer programming.
Since new regulation came into effect in 2019, iGaming has become an important contributor to the state’s tax revenues. Sites like Time2play offer a full breakdown of what the different online casinos provide and which is the best in various aspects for the gambler. However, in terms of benefits to Michigan, gambling paid $209 million in taxes in 2021. $59.5 million of that was from Detroit. Online casinos were responsible for around 98% of that tax revenue. The pattern continued throughout 2022. April set a new monthly state tax revenue record at over $25 million.
Michigan is driving collaboration between public, private, and philanthropic stakeholders to advance the state’s mobility ecosystem. The Office of Future Mobility and Electrification supports a state-wide approach to help government, education, and the private sector grow the electric transportation industry in Michigan. As a result, 68% of all automotive R&D in the US was spent by companies in Michigan, and it has the friendliest laws for testing self-driving vehicles.
Professional and Corporate Services
More than 175,000 Michiganders are employed in the professional and corporate service industries. The state is home to 17 Fortune 500 companies. Jobs include those in banking, investing, insurance, and real estate. There has also been a rise in positions in technical services and consulting. In addition, the information sector is growing, covering jobs in high-speed internet expansion, data processing, TV, and digital broadcasting.
The state’s cost of living is ten percent lower than the national average. As a result, the price of talent in this sector is approximately one-third lower than in coastal markets. The world’s largest tech companies, like Microsoft and Google, are investing throughout the state to take advantage of this.
Life Sciences and Medical Devices
Michigan is in the top ten for the number of medical device technology business locations in the country. The University Research Corridor in the leading cluster for undergraduate and advanced biological science and medical studies degrees. The state is in the nation’s top ten for biomedical graduates. More than 12,000 people work in the medical device manufacturing sector. Almost 10,000 people are employed in the pharmaceutical industry. Life sciences and health care accounted for more than 40% of the venture capital invested in 2020.
Michigan has broadened the base of its economic growth. While the traditional elements are still fundamental, it has turned their face firmly towards the future. Ever resourceful and inventive, this state continues to reinvent itself and strive for excellence.