03-26-13 | Blog Post

Manufacturing Driving Michigan Job Growth, High Tech Fueling Manufacturing

Blog Posts

Manufacturing is driving Michigan’s economic growth just five years after John McCain told Michiganders those jobs “aren’t coming back.” Barack Obama made a similar statement just last fall.

  • Yet manufacturing is driving Michigan’s job growth and it isn’t just automotive. Consider: – Shinola is making watches in Detroit and ramping up production.

  • Element Electronics has started making flat screen TVs in Canton, Michigan, just outside Detroit, years after all TV manufacturing moved overseas.

  • Romulus-based Serta Restokraft has seen revenue soar 48 percent since 2008 as the only name brand mattress maker in Michigan. Serta is now the national leader.

  • Even Apple has made news, getting a shout-out in the State of the Union for plans to return some manufacturing jobs in the United States, years after moving all production to Asia.

  • Detroit Electric recently announced plans to bring production of new electric cars from California to Michigan.

Manufacturing has fueled job growth since the 2009 recession officially ended. A recent Bridge Michigan review of 2011 Michigan job growth found that regions that grew the most economic growth (Holland-Grand Haven, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Flint) were fueled by double digit manufacturing growth. Metro areas that saw declines (Lansing and Kalamazoo) had fewer manufacturing jobs.

Flint, one of the hardest hit cities in the last four recessions is making news for its comeback. Online Tech is one of the tech companies reviving former GM sites in the Flint area with the investment in upgrading and maintaining their Mid-Michigan data center, the former site of GM’s disaster recovery facility built by EDS.

What’s driving the U.S. manufacturing comeback? Why are U.S. manufacturing jobs coming back from overseas? There are many factors including: rising transportation costs, rising costs and currencies in Asia, the fact that U.S. wages are becoming more competitive with foreign rivals as well as the quality factor.

But what’s driving most of those factors? U.S. tech leadership and innovation, which have long given Michigan an edge in manufacturing, are also cutting costs and fueling manufacturing as well as customer demand.

Michigan has a long history of making things. With manufacturing, you get a product at the end. Technology is the magical thing that helps us manufacture more and better things, more quickly and for less money.

All of this tech growth requires more data and more secure data. Consider:

  • The new iPad Mini vs. the original iPad. In 2010, just three years ago (as now), a 16G iPad cost $500 and a 32G iPad cost $600.

However, you can get an iPad Mini with 16G for just $329 and using Apple’s iCloud have access to EVERY bit of data on your home or work computer network (something you didn’t have in 2010).

  • NBC News recently posted an image that went viral with something they dubbed an “amazing photo’’ comparing the 2013 crowd waiting for the announcement of a new Pope, Francis, at the Vatican to the 2005 crowd waiting for news of the last Pope, Benedict. Everyone in the 2013 crowd had some sort of smartphone or tablet taking photos compared to 2005 when just a handful had traditional cell phones.

Bill Gates built Microsoft on the dream of having a desktop computer in every home. Just one computer in a home now seems quaint as we now carry data-packed devices in our pockets and have them in our cars and almost every room in our homes.

  • Michigan is being touted as the next great North American shipping hub (logistics relies on a great deal of innovation and tech know-how) as it grows jobs in life sciences and other tech-intensive industries.

Michiganders from Thomas Edison and Henry Ford to Google founder Larry Page and the more recent University of Michigan graduates who developed the iPod and Google Android, have a history of disruptive changes that grow tech jobs as well as manufacturing.

Not surprisingly, CNN recognized Detroit as one of the fastest growing cities for tech jobs, noting there are typically 1,100 tech job openings here each day vs. 800 a year ago. Dice ranked Michigan fifth in the nation for tech jobs while Site Selection Magazine ranked Michigan fourth in the nation for business expansions.

Joe Serwach is focused on helping nurture and grow brands like Pure Michigan, the University Research Corridor, Andersen and the University of Michigan as well as several other business and nonprofit clients. Learn more at OrganikConsulting.com.


John McCain Says New Job Skills Are Key to Michigan’s Economic Turnaround
Obama On Manufacturing: ‘There Are Some Jobs That Are Not Going to Come Back’
High-End Watchmaker Shinola Sets Up Shop in Detroit
TV Maker Hiring 100 Workers for New Plant in Canton
No Time to Relax in Mattress Biz
In Shift of Jobs, Apple Will Make Some Macs in U.S.
President Obama Mentions Apple’s Planned U.S. Manufacturing in State of the Union Address
Detroit Electric Exec: ‘We Have the Best Electric Car’; No Federal Funding
What’s Up, Who’s Down in State Economy?
New Math Will Drive a U.S. Manufacturing Comeback
Obama: “Michigan is All About Making Stuff”
Great Ideas: Michigan Advantage
Fastest-Growing Cities for Tech Jobs

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