Detroit Regional Chamber > Chamber > Michigan’s Economy Thrives Yet Perception Lags, Says Detroit Regional Chamber

Michigan’s Economy Thrives Yet Perception Lags, Says Detroit Regional Chamber

March 4, 2024

CBS Detroit
Feb. 27, 2024
Andres Gutierrez

Despite Michigan’s economy returning to pre-pandemic levels, there are perceptions that it’s worse than it is.

That is just one of the key findings in this year’s Detroit Regional Chamber “State Of The Region” report. On Tuesday, business and civic leaders did a deep dive into that report at One Campus Martius.

According to the Detroit Regional Chamber, unemployment in Southeast Michigan has been at or below 4% for almost two years. That’s right in the sweet spot between 3% and 5%, economists say, is an indicator of a healthy economy.

“The number of job openings available across the state, to the number of unemployed people across the state, we’re exactly where we were right before the pandemic. In other words, there are 1.5 jobs available right now for every unemployed person in the state of Michigan,” Baruah said.

One of the biggest challenges the state is working to turn around is its declining population.

“Between the years 2000 and 2020, the average growth in the United States was 18%. Michigan managed over that same period of time, a whopping 1%,” Baruah said.

“So, that means we need to think about how do we get every possible person who wants to work connected to the labor market. And how do we make technology allow us to be more productive,” said Anna Paulson, Executive Vice President, Director of Research, and Executive Committee Member at The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The Chamber also found that despite Michigan’s reputation as an automotive hub, the state needs to catch up in EV investment compared to other regions like Georgia.

“Let’s think of things as economic issues and not political issues. And if we think about as economic issues, will we choose to rise to the challenge of next-generation mobility or not? Because if we won’t do it, who will?” Baruah said.

Overall, leaders are optimistic about the direction the state is heading in.

“Detroit and Southeast Michigan and the State of Michigan are all rising, just maybe not to the level we want at this point. But we’re going to continue to highlight that, and hopefully, it’s going to continue to grow, and we’re going to improve that moving forward,” said Claude Molinari, President and Chief Executive Officer of Visit Detroit.