As has been the case for many of the last six years, jobs, personal income and the economy in Michigan grew faster in 2015 than most other states. However, rankings for absolute levels remain average or below.

Since 2009, Michigan has made the most progress reducing the annual unemployment rate, falling from 13.8% (50th) in 2009 to 5.4% (31st) in 2015. However, the rate of job growth has slowed in each of the last four years, dropping from 3.3% in 2011 to 2.0% in 2015.

2015 per capita personal income growth in Michigan was an impressive 4.3% — ranking 4th in the U.S. and nearly twice the average of “Top Ten” states. It will have to increase even faster if Michigan wants to catch “Top Ten” levels for absolute per capita personal income levels. In 2015, per capita personal income in Michigan was $42,427 — 33rd nationally.

In 2010, Michigan per capita GDP growth experienced a post-recession boom of 6.2%, ranking 3rd in the nation. Since then, growth has leveled off.  At $37,768, Michigan’s per capita GDP level ranks 35th in the U.S.

Input - Cost and Value

In 2015, Michigan was improving or holding steady in slightly more than half of the 50 plus indicators used to measure the cost of locating here and the value provided (top chart). However, Michigan still ranks in the bottom half of most states on a majority of measures (bottom chart).

Michigan has only achieved “Top Ten” rankings in seven of the 50 input metrics used to measure competitiveness. 

Since 2009, Michigan has made the most progress on cost factors.  

  • Michigan’s ranking for corporate tax climate improved 37 spots from 48th to 11th. 
  • Michigan’s ranking for business climate improved 17 spots from 50th to 33rd.

One cost factor on which Michigan has lost ground is the state’s unfunded pension liability, where we now rank 28th — down from 16th in 2009. 

Trends: Cost and Value Indicators 2014-2015

On value factors, significant rankings gains since 2009 include: 

  • Migration of residents with a Bachelor’s           degree or higher, where Michigan improved 36 spots from 50th to 14th.
  • Net new establishments, which improved 29 spots from 47th to 18th.
  • Share of employment in key industries, which improved 12 spots from 32nd to 20th. 

Value factors with the largest rankings drops since 2009 include:

  • 4th grade reading proficiency, dropping                  12 spots from 34th to 46th.
  • Critical skills degrees conferred, dropping 8 spots from 20th to 28th.
  • Economic development expenditures, dropping 8 spots from 22nd to 30th. 

Absolute Rankings: Cost and Value Indicators 2014-2015

 Top 10 denotes where Michigan’s level in a given metric is equal to or better than the average level for the “Top Ten” states.

Top 10 denotes where Michigan’s level in a given metric is equal to or better than the average level for the “Top Ten” states.

Trend Comparisons

As measured by key outputs, Michigan’s economy is experiencing “Top Ten” growth. Michigan has also taken steps to improve several cost inputs, while more work is needed on key value inputs.