Hey! Amazon! How About Michigan?

It is well known that Amazon is seeking a location for a new major investment.  Not so well known is the progress that Michigan has made since the Great Recession ended in 2009.  The recently released 2017 Michigan Economic Competiveness Study confirms that Michigan is making great progress at the state level.


  • Michigan’s economy was the only state to have an actual population loss from 2000-2010.  Since the end of 2009 Michigan has averaged 1.7 percent average annual job growth compared to overall U.S. job growth of 1.5 percent.
  • The Great Recession saw the largest decline in U.S. GDP, 4 percent, and the sharpest increase in national unemployment, 4.5 percent to 10.1 percent, since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Michigan’s unemployment rate hit a peak of 14.9 percent in June 2009 but, as of September 2017, stands at 4.3 percent.
  • Michigan currently ranks number one in the Great Lakes region and ninth most economically competitive state in the nation.
  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data, Michigan ranks sixth in real GDP growth. Second in real per capita GDP growth and third in personal per capita income growth since 2009.
  • More important to someone like Amazon, Michigan has gone from 49th in having the best corporate income tax in 2006, to number eight in 2017.

Clearly, Michigan is great place to work, but it is also a great place to play.  For spectators, the state has all four major professional sports leagues, plus the very popular sport of auto racing, not to mention numerous nationally ranked college teams.  For participants, the state offers the wide range of outdoor activities that only an area with all four seasons can offer, including more boating opportunities than nearly anywhere else.

However, all of the foregoing not withstanding, the number one reason to come to Michigan, is fresh water.  Water is already a problem in much of the U.S. and the world.  Looking ahead, water is almost certain to become more expensive and more controversial.  Michigan is right in the middle of one of the largest supplies of fresh water in the world.

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA®