Michigan’s Path to the Top 10: Accelerate our economy


Michigan has flipped the script on business growth over the past decade. In 2011, the state lost 12,000 net businesses; in 2019, Michigan created 2,000 net businesses. Also, prior to the pandemic, Michigan outperformed its Midwest peers in 10-year, five-year and three-year job growth metrics. The state also added roughly 15,000 more automotive jobs.

Michigan has a strong foundation to continue growing through improved business climate rankings, investments in research and development and reductions in poverty. As 2021 came to a close, the state made significant progress with an economic development package that has attracted new investment.

Even as Michigan has made such strides, its growth is being outpaced by the US average. Michigan is losing ground to other states that have been working for decades to strengthen and diversify their economic competitiveness and create unique tools to win jobs.

Michigan currently ranks nationally:

  • 35th in median household income
  • 20th in new business creation
  • 34th in poverty rate

Michigan must grow incumbent industries and diversify its economy. As the auto industry rapidly transitions to autonomous and electric vehicles, the state needs to meet the shifting needs of automakers while also attracting and growing emerging industries such as life sciences, IT, professional and business services, and food processing.

Why Intel chose Ohio to invest $20 billion

In January 2022, Intel announced a transformative $20 billion plan to build two semiconductor factories just outside of Columbus, Ohio, employing up to 7,000 people during construction and creating 3,000 Intel jobs – many of them highly skilled. The move is expected to help create a new technology hub in central Ohio as related businesses open new facilities and bring expertise to the region.

The investment offers important lessons for what Michigan must do to compete for knowledge jobs. Ohio beat out 40 other states for the project. State leaders pledged to work with the company to provide skilled workers and gave Intel $2 billion in incentives.

A combination of factors influence the decision:

  • Large shovel-ready site with easy access to energy supplies and water
  • Strong coordinated government support at the local, regional and state level
  • Competitive labor costs
  • Talent availability and quality

Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger cited the proximity of Midwest universities to the site as a major factor in the decision and said his company plans to transform the Columbus region into the “Silicon Heartland.”

About Business Leaders for Michigan

Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, was founded in 2009 around a common mission to make Michigan a top 10 state. The organization provides a platform for the state’s top business and education leaders to develop and help to implement collaborative impactful plans to make Michigan more competitive. In the past dozen years, the state has made significant progress, moving up to 29th from 49th nationally.

Business Leaders for Michigan’s new strategic report uses updated benchmarks, which provide a more holistic view of how well all Michiganders are succeeding. Its state-by-state analysis helps business leaders and policymakers focus on where Michigan struggles to surpass other states, and develop specific, data-driven solutions that will help Michigan’s people, businesses and communities compete and win jobs, additional income and economic growth. Learn more at BusinessLeadersForMichigan.com.

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