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BLM Finds Economic Improvement, But Michigan Still Not Top 10

DETROIT -- The statewide CEO group Business Leaders for Michigan issued a report on the state's economy Thursday contending Michigan's business climate had improved during the year.

But the group, a statewide successor to Detroit Renaissance, said Michigan is still short of BLM's goal of reaching the nation's top 10.

That leaves the state's long-term economic prospects "still uncertain," BLM contended.

"Our recovery is moving faster than in most states, but we also had much further to climb," said BLM chair Jim Nicholson, who is president and CEO of PVS Chemicals Inc. in Detroit. "We've had some successes, particularly in the areas of responsibly managing our state finances and creating a more competitive business tax environment.  The Governor, legislature and many business and community leaders deserve credit for the work of the past few years.  What matters now is that we build on those successes and move even more rapidly toward lasting economic growth."

This year's report showed that Michigan's employment, per capita GDP and per capita personal income have grown more quickly than most of its peers since 2009, but still rank far below Top Ten states.

And, the group contends that the cost of doing business in Michigan "remains high," despite major business tax cuts.

And the group also contended that perceptions of the state's business climate remain low, and are improving only slowly.

Another problem is low levels of venture capital investment and entrepreneurial activity, which means the state isn't taking full advantage of its high level of research activity.

And, the group said,  Michigan does not have enough college graduates to keep up with future workforce demand.

BLM President & CEO Doug Rothwell said the business climate could be improved by cutting property taxes for business and prioritizing state spending on higher education and transportation.

"Our higher education institutions excel at producing graduates in high-demand areas, but we will need to produce more of them to meet future job demand," Rothwell said. "To meet future demand, we need to make college more affordable and that means a greater commitment from the state. Last year, Michigan took an important step by linking increased funding for higher education to performance outcomes, including producing graduates with high-demand degrees. Likewise, we need to adopt a comprehensive transportation funding strategy that connects Michigan to the global economy."

The research and analysis for BLM's 2012 Benchmarking Report was conducted by Anderson Economic Group, a Lansing-based research and consulting firm specializing in economics, finance, market analysis, and public policy.

It is available at

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