Michigan's Pure Potential

  Grand Rapids reach

By Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley
September 19, 2012

When I think about Michigan's future, I envision one thing -- pure potential.

Already, we've come a long way toward reinventing our state and creating more and better jobs. Here are some facts about where we stand:

  • Since Governor Snyder and I took office, Michigan unemployment rate has fallen by 1.5 percentage points from 10.9 percent to 9.4 percent.
  • In that same time period, the number of unemployed residents has dropped by 74,000 -- that's a full 15 percent.
  • Under our administration, total payroll jobs in Michigan have increased by 72,200.
  • In this time, we have seen significant job gains in Professional & Business Services (+30,000), Manufacturing (+29,000), and Education & Health Care Services (+14,000).
  • Only four states (Florida, Mississippi, Nevada and Ohio) recorded a higher percentage point drop in the jobless rate over the past year than Michigan's decline in unemployment.

That's great news, but it doesn't mean we don't have challenges. Too many Michiganders remain out of work, and our economy isn't growing as fast as we'd like -- just as we're seeing across the rest of the country. But there is hope in Michigan, and there are things we can do to make our economy stronger.

Yesterday MLive reported that Silicon Valley tech company Stik.com is moving from San Francisco to Detroit, setting up shop in the M@dison Building. In a news release, company co-founder Nathan Labenz explained why they're making the move:

"Downtown Detroit is developing something special around its burgeoning tech community, and we want to be part of it. We are excited to collaborate with other Detroit-based companies that are making a positive impact, and we are eager to grow our business with some of the best tech talent in the country."
Good news is coming from the west side of our state, too. The Atlantic magazine yesterday profiled what it calls "the most creative seed fund" -- and it's located in Grand Rapids. "Every two weeks, the $15 million fund gives $5,000 to two new ideas," The Atlantic reports. "Here's the crazy part: while the StartGarden team picks one idea, you, that is to say, the community, pick the other one."

If you ask me, that sounds pretty darn exciting.

We can do more to keep moving Michigan forward, and we can start by building a new bridge to Canada. Under an agreement reached with our neighbors to the north, we can build a new bridge at no cost to Michigan taxpayers, create 10,000 construction related jobs, and boost our economy all across the state by making it easier to trade with other markets. And speaking of trade, Governor Snyder this week is in China opening doors for our exports. We make great things in Michigan, and the more of it we can sell to other countries, the more jobs we have here at home.

There's great potential for our state, and I can't wait to see what we're capable of.