Why State Rankings Matter and How Michigan Can Improve

State business climate rankings are immensely important because companies use them to help determine where to locate new facilities, which in turn helps create good-paying jobs for our families and additional economic development for local communities. 

Site Selection magazine is a top trade publication for site selectors, the people in the business of researching and planning major investments for businesses. This offers insight into what companies prioritize when determining investment plans. 

U.S. News and World Report also issues report cards on individual states, resulting from surveys of each state’s residents. Unfortunately, Michigan currently ranks 38th out of 50 overall. We can and must do better. Why would a corporation want to build its headquarters in Michigan when they have 37 other states with better conditions to choose from? Though Michigan is #1 in our hearts, we must take an urgent look at why we’ve fallen behind in national rankings, and more importantly, what we can do to fix it. 

The report also ranks Michigan at 38th for education and fiscal stability and 35th for healthcare and infrastructure. These mediocre rankings also are unacceptable.  

We need companies to invest in Michigan because it creates a better quality of life for all Michiganders. Businesses want to locate in states that have an “ease of doing business,” engaged citizens, a high quality of life, and a strong education system to maintain and grow a highly talented workforce.  

Improving in three key areas can easily move Michigan up in rankings: 

  • K-12 education
    • Education is weighed more heavily than any other category by U.S. News and World Report. We need to focus on providing administrators, teachers and parents with effective resources, not just dollars, to ensure students can adequately read, fill in-demand jobs, and have the best chance at success in life.
  • Quality of life
    • Job providers are much more likely to move to a state with a top-notch health care system and healthy environment. That’s why we need to take greater strides to make healthcare more affordable for everyone and protect our environment for our children and grandchildren. 
  • Business climate
    • High taxes and burdensome regulations are a huge deterrent to job creation and economic development. We must continue to identify and remove barriers to improve our state’s competitiveness on a national and global level, and attract more job providers to locate and grow in Michigan.

One of the WMPF’s top priorities in 2023 is improving economic development and making Michigan a Top 10 state. We have a lot of work to do but we can make it happen if Michiganders all come together. Contact your local legislator and tell them to support efforts that work to make Michigan a Top 10 state.