We are now a poor state continued

As we explored in our last post Michigan is now structurally a lower tier state in per capita income. And in the bottom ten in per capita income without transfer payments.  We believe per capita income is a best measure of economic well being. It is the most comprehensive and reliable estimate of income of a community’s residents.

For those who are more focused on jobs the story is the same. Using Governor Snyder’s goal of more and better jobs, Michigan is a national laggard in both. To us the best measure of employment is the proportion of adults working. For those in their prime working years of 25-64 year olds Michigan in 2013 ranks 42nd. 68.95 percent working in Michigan compared to 71.97 percent for the nation. North Dakota ranks first at 81.95 percent.

Among the six Great Lakes states Minnesota is best––third in the nation––at 80.14 percent. Michigan is last.

The only states worse than Michigan are • Arizona • Louisiana • New Mexico • Arkansas • Kentucky • Alabama • Mississippi • West Virginia.

(Michigan ranks 43rd in the proportion of 16 and older that worked in 2013. In the most widely used measure of jobs, the unemployment rate, for 2013 Michigan ranked 46th.)

When it come to wages Michigan now is a low wage state as we have explored previously. And during the economic recovery from the depth of the Great Recession we have fallen farther behind the nation. The average wage in Michigan has gone down from 95.8% of the U.S. average in 2009 to 94.6% of the U.S. average in 2013.

Just like per capita income, Michigan wages have steady declined compared to the nation from 2000. In 2000 we were a high wage state, today we are a low wage state. Falling from 5 percent above the national average to 5 percent below.

So when it comes to both employment and wages the story is the same as it is for per capita income and per capita income minus transfer payments: Michigan is a lower tier state. And that is as true today in the fourth year of national recovery and a substantial domestic auto industry rebound as it was in depth of the Great Recession.

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Lou Glazer

Lou Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations.

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