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Michigan economy

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan retailers are less optimistic about this year’s holiday shopping season.

A survey by the Michigan Retailers Association finds a little more than half of its members expect their sales will be better this year.

The Michigan Retailers Index predicts about a 1.3% increase this year, that’s well below the national forecast.

There’s a new report that may help explain why Michigan isn’t feeling as big an impact from the federal government shutdown as other states.

Michigan ranks 41st on a new survey of how the shutdown affects the fifty states and the District of Columbia.

The survey is by WalletHub.com. John Kiernan is a senior analyst at WalletHub.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Federal, state and local government officials are meeting with Genesee County business leaders today to discuss ways to build up the county’s manufacturing industry.

After decades of decline, Genesee County’s manufacturing base has been growing since the recession.

Much of the growth has been tied to the auto industry.

Janice Karcher is with the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. She says Flint-area manufacturers are about more than cars and trucks.

www.detroit15.org

The Michigan League for Public Policy released its Labor Day report today. The report shows Michigan  increased the number of workers earning a poverty wage.

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate jumped slightly to 8.7%, as more people are competing for jobs.

There are actually about 9 thousand more people working in Michigan.  But there are also more people who told the government’s monthly employment survey that they are looking for work.

Michigan’s rate of unemployment and under-employment is 16.1%. That includes people who’ve stopped looking for work or part-timers who’d like to be full-time.

The state’s jobless rate from this point 12 months ago is down six-tenths of a percentage point.

We begin a week-long look at energy in Michigan. Today, we focused on solar energy and what it could mean for our state.

And, we turned to Lansing where some Democrats in the state House are introducing legislation to allow gay marriage in Michigan.

Also, we spoke with Charles Ballard and Rick Haglund about whether Michigan is going to make an economic comeback.

First on the show, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has issued its annual Kids Count report on the well-being of children across the nation. In Michigan, the outline is a mixed bag, but overall Michigan is last among Great Lakes states for child well-being.

There were improvements in how well kids are doing in school, some improvements in the area of the health of kids and the number who have health insurance, but in every category of economic well-being, children in Michigan are in worse shape.

Patrick McCarthy is the President and Chief Executive author of Kids Count, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

When it comes to measuring economies, gross domestic product has been the big player for the last century.

But a growing number of economists and political scientists argue that GDP is an incomplete assessment of development. The central complaint: GDP misses the human side of things.

So researchers at the Social Science Research Council in Brooklyn looked at the Human Development Index, a metric developed in the 1990s, and applied it to the U.S. Looking at the health, education, and earnings of people across the country, the researchers were able to get a better understanding of how Americans are doing.

 

The result? The country is making progress in some areas and falling behind in others. No surprise.

 

But across the board, Michigan’s not doing well.

edwardmcclelland.com

If you've grown up in Michigan---or elsewhere in the Midwest, you don't need us to tell you there's been an unbelievable shift in the lifestyle, the economy, the job expectations from, say, your parents' or grandparents' day to what we face in 2013.

Here in the Great Lakes, we've gone from the "Arsenal of Democracy" during World War II to the center of manufacturing, especially of automobiles, to present day, where many of those once-booming factories are empty and rotting away or falling to the wrecker's ball.

Writer Edward McClelland grew up in Lansing, where once upon a time a kid could go from a high school graduation ceremony right into a GM plant, make a great living thanks to contracts won by the UAW, and go right up to retirement. As we all know here in Michigan, those days are gone forever.

Edward McClelland's new book digs into what happened to the industrial midsection of America, including Michigan. It's called "Nothin' But Blue Skies: the Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes Of America's Industrial Heartland."

Edward McClelland joined us here in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan’s unemployment rate declined by one tenth of one percentage point last month.

Michigan’s April unemployment rate was 8.4%, down seven tenths of a percentage point from April of 2012. The state’s jobless rate has been on the decline since last September.

The biggest gains last month were found in the leisure, manufacturing and health services industries, while professional and business services posted a big decline.

And the state’s latest labor numbers are not just about people with jobs.

Perezhilton.com

Michigan labor officials say teenagers may have a better chance this year of landing a summer job.

In the summer of 2010, at the height of the recession, teen summer unemployment was pegged at 35 percent.

State economic analyst Bruce Weaver predicts this summer teen unemployment should be closer to 25 percent.

“The types of industries that tend to hire teens … which primarily fall in the service and retail sector … have added jobs in Michigan over the past several years,” says Weaver.  

ridetherapid.org

Local governments and businesses are waiting to see how they will be affected by automatic federal budget cuts that take effect today.   

In Grand Rapids, the city’s plans for a new rapid bus service may end up being delayed by the sequester cuts.

Peter Varga is the CEO of The Rapid.   He says 80 percent of the funding for the nearly $40 million project is slated to come from the federal government.

Varga says if the federal funding is held up, the project will be delayed beyond its 2014 completion date. He says a delay will add to the cost of the project.

whitehouse.gov

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

The term "sequester" is being tossed around all over the news and in Washington D.C. this week, but what does that mean for Michigan?

Um-Smart.org

There is certainly no shortage of reporting, discussion and conversation about what should happen to breath new life into Michigan's economy.

Most of this conversation seems to revolve around the thought of legislatures, policy makers, and Governor Snyder.

But what do Michiganders think should happen to help restore the economy and what do you want to see as a Michigan citizen?

U.S. Congress / congress.gov

Michigan stands to lose thousands of jobs if automatic federal budget cuts take effect at the end of the month.

The effects could ripple through the state’s economy.

Stephen Fuller, an economist at George Mason University, has broken down the effects of the $85 billion in federal spending cuts that will go into effect if the so-called sequestration goes through next week.

He estimates Michigan will lose 23,000 to 25,000 jobs, mostly defense department related, but also about 10,000 non-governmental jobs.

That’s slightly lower than the more than 30,000 jobs lost he predicted last year, but he says the effect on Michigan’s economy will still be more than $2 billion.

Fuller says small businesses will feel the effect more than large businesses.

“They have a harder time adjusting…they don’t have stockholders or large deposits in the bank to live off of,” said Fuller.

Fuller says government workers will probably start to feel the budget cuts in April, but a Lansing area defense contractor has already announced layoffs tied to the looming sequestration.

technico / http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/801913

More families in Michigan are finding it hard to meet basic needs.

A report by the Working Poor Families Project says a family of four with a household income of about $45,600 is considered low-income. Michigan finds itself in the middle nationally, with the 26th highest number of low-income working families in the nation.

Andy Nguyen / Flickr

The State of the State speech outlines what the Governor sees as spending priorities for the state. But state taxes and spending are only part of the story.   Michigan Watch has learned recovering from the Great Recession will not go as well in Michigan as the rest of the nation this year.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s unemployment rate held steady through the month of December at 8.9 percent, according to a report released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

The December rate marks a four-tenths of a percent decrease from last year, while the national jobless rate dropped by seven-tenths of a percent over the same period.

Total employment declined by 11,000 last month.

Japanese auto supplier set to invest $150 million in Michigan

Jan 15, 2013
DENSO International America / flickr

Japanese auto supplier Denso has announced a four-year, $1 billion expansion in North America, including a $150 million investment in Michigan.

According to plans revealed at the North American International Auto Show on Tuesday, the auto supplier could hire a combined 400 new workers at its technical center in Southfield and manufacturing plant in Battle Creek.

Nathan Borney of the Detroit Free Press has more:

Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics

Over the next two years, the state of Michigan should recover about 40 percent of jobs lost during a nearly decade-long recession, says one University of Michigan economics professor.

George Fulton, director of the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, told a group of state officials that Michigan is expected to enter its fourth year of a moderate but sustained economic recovery.

Speaking at the state’s biannual revenue-estimating conference Friday, Fulton said Michigan still has progress to make.

Stateside: Avoiding the fiscal cliff

Jan 2, 2013
Charley Ballard, Michigan State University economist, spoke with Cyndy about the health of Michigan's economy.
Michigan State University

The short-term compromise that Congress passed last night may have averted the immediate impacts of the so-called "fiscal cliff,” but bigger battles lie ahead for Congress and the White House.

Michigan State University Economics professor Charley Ballard spoke with Cindy about the deal and what we can expect in the coming months.

Ballard said he was hoping for a grand bargain, a much more comprehensive effort to deal with the country’s fiscal problems, but that something is better than nothing.

Unemployment in Michigan declines for third consecutive month

Dec 20, 2012
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s unemployment rate is down two-tenths of a percent to 8.9 percent over the course of November, according to a report released Wednesday by the Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

That's seven-tenths of a percent below last year's November rate.

The labor force declined by 24,000 over the course of the month.

A123 Systems Inc.'s battery manufacturing facility in Livonia, Michigan. The company filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday.
A123 Systems Inc. / Facebook

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a plan to phase out the state’s tax on business and industrial equipment.

Manufacturers, in particular, say the tax discourages investment in Michigan.

Charlie Pryde is a lobbyist for Ford.

“We believe the reform package the governor is signing today will make Michigan more competitive for manufacturing and Ford Motor Company more competitive in the intensely competitive automotive manufacturing marketplace,” Pryde said.

Stateside: Addressing Michigan's income disparity

Dec 12, 2012
Charley Ballard, Michigan State University economist, spoke with Cyndy about the health of Michigan's economy.
Michigan State University

The gap between the Middle and Upper class in Michigan has widened.

Michigan State University’s Charley Ballard spoke with Cyndy about income disparity in both the state and country.

“There is a lot of emphasis about the level of income, but I am talking about the gap between those at the top, the middle and bottom in terms of how much their household income is. A big story is that the gap has widened. Michigan is typical in that the gap between the gap and top and the middle has gone way up, but the gap between the middle and the bottom has not,” said Ballard.

The disparities in income are largely a result of varying degrees of education among Michigan workers.

“Those at the top tend to be college-educated. Those at the bottom tend to not be,” said Ballard.

According to Ballard, Michigan’s statistics are average when compared nationally.

“In a lot of ways we’re a middle-of-the-pack state. If you take that ratio of the household income for the person at the 90th percentile, upper-middle class, and compare that with the household income with someone at the tenth percentile, that ratio increased by more than 20% in Michigan.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley want the Legislature to enact a major tax overhaul before its current session ends in two or three weeks.

It would phase out Michigan’s tax on business and industrial equipment.   

It is widely agreed the tax discourages investment and is a particularly large burden on manufacturers.

The phase-out would take 10 years, with smaller businesses benefiting first.

Lieutenant Governor Calley said Michigan’s economy is still rooted in manufacturing.

“Eliminating this disincentive to invest will help improve our climate for job growth. Our whole state will benefit,” said Calley.

The holdup has come from local governments and school districts, which rely on that revenue.

David Lossing is the mayor of the city of Linden, near Flint, and president of the Michigan Municipal League. Lossing said there are still too many questions about this plan, and it could force many communities to cut services.

“We want to make 21st Century communities. We want to make these places where people want to live, want to shop, want to open a business, and so forth. If you throw us over the cliff, we’re not going to attract the businesses that we think we need to have to make us prosperous," said Lossing.

The plan would guarantee money for police, fire and other emergency services, but only if voters approve the plan in a statewide election. Other services could face cuts.

The state House Tax Policy Committee will hold a hearing on the proposal Wenesday.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Many Michigander plans to mix turkey and shopping today.   But one Michigan State University professor believes it’s a delicate balance for retailers.

It used to be that large crowds lined up in the early hours the day after Thanksgiving to jam Michigan stores and take advantage of Black Friday sales.

No more.

Walmart, Target and other major retailers plan to open this evening, well before midnight, barely giving many Michiganders time to digest their turkey dinners before starting on their holiday shopping lists.

Unemployment in Michigan declines, labor force reaches yearly high

Nov 14, 2012
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s unemployment rate declined to 9.1 percent in the month of October, while total employment rose by 13,000, according to a report released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

The unemployment number is down eight-tenths of a percentage point from the same time last year.

Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives,  said that Michigan has seen "modest improvements" in several labor market indicators since 2011.

Michigan State University Press

Is Michigan better off than it was four years ago? The question is important when assessing the progress of both our state’s citizens and the politicians who govern it.

To further investigate this question, Stateside’s Cyndy Canty spoke with Michigan State University Economics Professor, Dr. Charley Ballard.

Although no simple answer to this question exists, Ballard felt generally positive about our state’s status.

“For the state as a whole, I would say the state is definitely better off than it was three years ago.”

August data from Michigan's DTMB show a four percent increase in the unemployment rate.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The unemployment rate in Michigan is up four-tenths of a point from last month to 9.4 percent says a new report released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

This marks the fourth consecutive month that Michigan's jobless rate has increased.

The data reveal little change in the labor force, as the total number of unemployed increased by 16,000.

From the report:

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.

Commentary: Growing Inequality

Jul 2, 2012

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."

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