How To Read This Report

In this report, we use a series of common measures to determine the economic strength of states and regions. The measures are divided into two categories: outputs and inputs. 

  • Output indicators like jobs, income, population and GDP show us the impact of policy decisions. They are the end result of ongoing economic development and policy changes.

  • Input indicators measure the factors businesses look at when deciding where to locate.

In this report, Michigan’s input metrics are divided into two categories: cost indicators and value indicators. When deciding whether to locate or expand in a region, job providers evaluate the costs (e.g., taxes, fees, utilities) of doing business in a region relative to the value (e.g., talent, infrastructure) it provides. Ultimately, areas that offer more value for equal or lower cost encourage business growth and attraction, which leads to more jobs, higher incomes and a stronger economy. 

Factors like the cost of doing business, the incentives available, the pool of talent, and the necessary infrastructure to support company operations are considered.  When these indicators are positive, they greatly influence site selection decisions and, ultimately, lead to stronger outputs.

The correlation between inputs and outputs is important to keep in mind when reading this report.  Ultimately, the inputs are the factors over which state leaders have the greatest amount of control. This year’s benchmarking results can offer continuing direction as we collectively evaluate the next crucial decisions for our economy.

With all this in mind, readers of this benchmarking report can see at a glance what progress has been made, where Michigan ranks relative to the rest of the U.S., and which direction we’re moving. The key below shows you how.


Peer and “Top Ten” States

Michigan’s performance on economic output and input metrics is compared to selected traditional and new economy peers and the “Top Ten” states.

Peer States were selected based on traditional and new economy benchmarks.

Traditional Benchmarks

  • Alabama

  • Georgia

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Ohio

  • Tennessee

New Economy Benchmarks

  • California

  • Colorado

  • Massachusetts

  • North Carolina

  • Texas

  • Virginia

“Top Ten” States were selected based on their average rankings on key job, economic, personal income, and population indicators (2007–2016). See chart below.

  • California

  • Massachusetts

  • Minnesota

  • Nebraska

  • New Hampshire

  • New York

  • North Dakota

  • Pennsylvania

  • Texas

  • Washington

“Top Ten” States for Job and Economic Growth (2009–2018)

Over the last ten years, these states averaged the highest ranking across four basic indicators of jobs, income, GDP, and population. In the report, “Top Ten” refers to this group of states and Michigan's performance relative to their average performance. The table below looks at a weighted average rank for both level and ten-year growth for these four categories.

Employment is measured per capita to control for state size.