Good news for Michigan

February 4, 2009
By: Vicki Bell

If any state could use some good news, it's Michigan, which is on track to reach an unwelcomed milestone: 10 consecutive years—a full decade—of job losses. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that of the 49 metropolitan areas with a population of one million or more, Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich., has the highest unemployment rate at 10.6 percent, 3.4 percent higher than the 7.2 percent national rate.

In last night's State of the State address, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm said, "I will not sugarcoat the severity of the crisis we face. This past year has been brutal." Before launching into the list of actions her administration is taking to improve conditions, Granholm warned that things likely will get worse before they get better, but they will get better.

Efforts to improve conditions received a shot in the arm yesterday when Gov. Granholm announced that the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) is helping 10 companies grow in Michigan and is backing four brownfield redevelopment projects. Now that's good news.

Based on the MEDC's recommendation, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority approved state tax credits to win the projects over competing national and international sites vying for the businesses. Combined, the 14 projects are expected to create and retain 8,912 jobs and generate more than $330 million in new investment in the state, WWJ Newsradio 950 reported.

"Despite these challenging economic times, our aggressive economic strategy is producing results for communities across Michigan, and we will continue to go anywhere and do anything to bring new jobs to our state," Granholm said. Companies in every industry, from film production to alternative energy, are choosing to invest in Michigan because of our world-class workforce and competitive business climate."

Among the 14 projects benefiting from the tax credits are film studios, software developers, and manufacturers, including several metal manufacturing companies:

* Great Lakes Towers LLC—The start-up wind turbine tower manufacturing company is planning to invest $19 million initially to locate its first manufacturing plant in Monroe, Mich. The company eventually expects to manufacture more than 500 wind towers each year. The project is expected to create 290 new Michigan jobs, including 152 directly by the company.

* W Industries—The metal fabrication company plans to invest $36 million to expand its operations in Detroit. The expansion, which will enable the automotive supplier to diversify into the aerospace and defense sectors, is expected to create 943 new Michigan jobs, including 501 directly by the company.

* MT Acquisitions LLC d/b/a Models & Tools—The Troy-based aerospace tooling company plans to invest $6.2 million to launch a new high bay facility in Shelby Township, which will support the company's current aerospace work for both commercial and defense projects. The additional floor space will allow for further investment in expanded machining capabilities, with the added height enabling the company to compete for large assembly tooling. The project is expected to create 164 jobs, including 72 directly by the company.

* Tribal Manufacturing Inc.—The Missouri-based start-up manufacturer of brass machined fittings for the plumbing industry plans to invest $4.6 million to launch new operations in Marshall. The project is expected to create 335 new Michigan jobs, including 193 directly by the company.

News of companies expanding in Michigan is a drop of good news in a job bucket that's been draining relentlessly for a decade. Let's hope there's more to come. There's always hope, even for the Detroit Lions.

Vicki Bell

Vicki Bell

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8209

//feathr tracking code on certain pages