By Deb Muchmore

Michigan’s economic engine is powering a recovery that has us gaining confidence in our reputation as the Comeback State. There’s work still to be done to get us entirely to the front of the pack, but attitude, conviction and real strategies are working to get us there.

It’s been just over a year since Michigan became the nation’s 24th right-to-work state. This change, and other recently enacted pro-growth policies, is bolstering Michigan’s economic momentum today.

Becoming a right-to-work state was a win-win for employers, workers and our state.

The law has brought greater fairness and equality to the workplace, giving employees the freedom to decide whether union membership is right for them or not, while retaining collective bargaining provisions and giving labor organizations the foundation to contemporize.

It’s also helped make Michigan a leading contender for choosing a site, business investment and expansion, talent attraction and job and wage growth.

While it’s too soon to realize the law’s full effect, the experience of other states instructs as we look ahead:

  • According to a Northwood University study, personal income growth in right-to-work states grew by nearly 40 percent, while only 34 percent in non-right-to-work states. By comparison, personal income in Michigan rose just 20 percent in the decade 2000 to 2010.
  • Last year right-to-work states grew personal incomes by 2.8 percent and populations by 0.9 percent, compared with 2.4 percent and 0.4 percent respectively for non-right-to-work states.
  • Upon joining right-to-work states, Indiana’s economic development agency heard from 90 companies saying right-to-work was a factor in choosing a site. Nearly three-dozen of the 90 have projects underway generating more than $430 million in new investment and nearly 4,000 new jobs. Indiana’s unemployment rate stood below 6 percent last month.

There’s no mistaking the signposts that Michigan is on the climb. Michigan:

  • Is among leaders in job creation nationwide
  • Recently jumped to 9th best for personal income growth nationally (Oct 2013)
  • Jumped from 12th to 20th nationwide in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s economic outlook rankings
  • Added more than 255,000 private sector jobs since late 2010
  • Increased private-sector employee average earnings 3.3 percent from October 2012 to October 2013 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Saw a March unemployment rate of 7.5 percent, the lowest since 2008

Now as Missouri seeks to become the 25th right-to-work state, it’s a fine day when the Show Me State can look to Michigan for evidence of economic gains to be made from common sense pro-growth policy strategies.

Deb Muchmore advises, counsels and coaches individuals in corporations and associations on critical issues and strategies influencing the success of their businesses. A Michigan State University graduate, she is vice president of public affairs at Marketing Resource Group, a Lansing-based issue management firm, where she has served since 1988.

Originally posted by the Greater Lansing Business Monthly

 

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