Spring Has Sprung, but Michigan’s Economy Feeling the Effects of a Late Frost

Although it’s been said that April showers bring May flowers, not everything is coming up roses for Michigan’s economy. Our economic garden, if you will, needs a deluge of opportunity to thrive because what we’re seeing now is only stunting our growth.

For one, our economy is not keeping pace with the national recovery, according to the Michigan Economic Outlook for 2024-25 released by the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics. This could be especially detrimental in our efforts to make Michigan a top 10 state.

Employment growth slowed in Michigan in the second half of last year, according to the study. This was our fear when Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation to repeal our state’s landmark right-to-work law, reinstate the antiquated prevailing wage law, and repeal a law to make our public schools accountable through an easy-to-understand A-F letter grading system.

In addition, a scathing Bridge Magazine investigation last month found that four out of 10 jobs created by corporate subsidies in Michigan will pay less than $45,510, the state’s median annual base wage. Although Governor Whitmer has said time and time again that these subsidies are creating “good-paying jobs,” the facts tell a different story.

Michigan needs to turn over a new leaf and stop providing incentives to a select few corporations. It’s time to give every job provider the best economic environment to create jobs for our families.

The Policy Forum continues to advocate for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to move away from incentives and instead work to remove barriers for everyone. The MEDC should be a one-stop office for current or prospective employers to navigate and receive the approvals they need to create jobs in Michigan with no permit decision to exceed 90 days.

By focusing on broad-based economic policies that foster an equitable business environment, we can encourage sustainable growth and development that benefits a wider cross-section of the community.

This spring, we also received bad news regarding the population commission. Although many people were encouraged by the commission’s plan to recommend policy proposals to get our state on the right track, the commission co-chair recently told the Detroit News their report “sits on a shelf somewhere,” presumably collecting dust, with no action to show for their efforts.

So in this season of renewal, we believe it’s time to tell our elected officials in Lansing to approve policy proposals that will bear the fruits of job creation, population growth and economic development, not sow seeds of fiscal irresponsibility that choke out the potential for prosperity.