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6 key aspects of the strength of Michigan’s auto industry, as illustrated in Detroit Regional Chamber report

By David Muller –

DETROIT, MI – A common misperception among Michiganders is that the state’s stalwart automotive industry is in decline, Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah told a crowd at the Detroit Athletic Club Thursday night.

Quite the opposite is true, Baruah said, as the Chamber’s MICHauto economic accelerator released its annual “Michigan is Auto” report, which underscores the strength of the state’s storied automotive sector.

The report, a collaborative effort with the Center for Automotive Research and Dykema, showcases the state’s auto assets just before the beginning of the North American International Auto Show, which runs Jan. 14-27. Baruah said this will be an annual tradition.

The report notes that Michigan’s vehicle production has been back on the rise since tumbling from 2.3 million cars in 2007 to 1.9 million in 2008 and then 1.1 million in 2009. In 2010, production rose to 1.6 million cars, then hit 1.9 million in 2011, and through November of 2012, 2.1 million vehicles were produced in Michigan, the report says, using numbers from Automotive News.

“We are going to share this document with any economic development entity in any part of the state, so they can drive their economic development around this document,” Baruah said Thursday.

Here are six key aspects of “Michigan is Auto”:

Michigan’s skill set“Home to more than 65,000 engineers, Michigan ranked first in the nation for its concentration of engineering and architecture talent in 2011. It has the highest concentration of industrial and mechanical engineers of any state in the U.S. and as of May 2011, Michigan employed more industrial engineers (31,330) and mechanical engineers (23,760) than any other state in the country.”
“Michigan has led the nation in manufacturing jobs created between 2010 and 2012, adding more than 57,000 jobs. Since 2010, Michigan has created 13,526 jobs specific to automotive manufacturing, which equals more than 12 jobs created every day for 3 years.”

Michigan’s competitive wages “In 2011, Michigan’s average hourly wage ($20.07) compared favorably to the national average ($21.32). Specific to unionized workers, Michigan’s average hourly wage ($22.91) also compared favorably to the national average ($25.32), as did the average hourly wage for unionized workers in private manufacturing ($21.29) compared the national average ($22.48).”

Michigan’s productivity

  • “Michigan produces more cars and trucks than any other state in the country, with 22 percent of the total U.S. vehicle production.
  • In 2011, more than 1.9 million cars and trucks rolled off of Michigan assembly lines – nearly 65 percent more than the next closest state – an increase of 66 percent since the 2009 downturn.
  • Michigan is on pace to produce roughly 2.3 million vehicles in 2012, the most in five years”

Michigan’s cost-competitive real estate“Michigan has more than 3,000 industrial properties and vacant lots ready for business, with an average asking price of $21.90 per square foot and an average lease rate of $4.28 per square foot.”

Michigan’s investments“Michigan is the birthplace of the automotive industry and companies old and new are investing in the state. Since 2010, 78 new motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts companies have been founded in Michigan. According to the Center for Automotive Research, between 2010 and October 2012, automakers and suppliers invested $10.6 billion in Michigan, nearly $1 billion of which came from 40 foreign automotive firms from 16 different countries.”

Michigan’s automotive trade: imports and exports“According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, Michigan companies exported more than $24 billion in transportation equipment to 172 countries in 2011, an increase of nearly 77 percent since 2009. Michigan companies imported more than $65 billion in transportation equipment in 2011, an increase of more than 80 percent from 2009.”