Nearly 50,000 people have fled Michigan over the last three years, moving to states like Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Arizona. And we’re not alone – states like New York, Illinois, and California are experiencing the same thing. And while we may be eager to point the finger at COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns, we can’t help but wonder, is this a coincidence, or is there a correlation or causation?
Michigan’s population trends indicate that dark clouds loomed over our state long before the pandemic, with waves of influx and declines aligning with policy trends. Here’s what we know: people flock to states with a business-friendly climate, which they’ve established through policies that incentivize businesses to open or relocate there. And that’s the trend that we should follow: investing in policies that support growth for Michigan.
As a state, we’ve been struggling to pick ourselves back up since the pandemic. We’re still down 71,400 jobs according to a recent census, and data shows that it’s mostly young people who are leaving the state with an average age of 29.3 years. If we want to reverse these trends – we have to look back at better times and start adopting policies that have proven to attract growth.
It all comes down to building a better business climate. We need to invest in more policies that incentivize businesses to grow in our state. We need stronger labor policies that offer freedom to attract a quality workforce. We can’t be a pro-business and pro-jobs state by being an anti-business supporter and anti-job provider. We know that people are flocking to states that offer more business prosperity and stronger career opportunities – it’s in the data. But the question remains, how will we move forward?
We need to take the numbers to our legislators and ask them, is this a coincidence, or is there a correlation and causation? Ask them to prioritize data when they take a seat at our state’s capitol. Tell them that in 2023, we need to make evidence-based decisions that promise growth for our state.