As Jeff Foxworthy so eloquently phrased it, “You know you’re from Michigan if”:
You’ve ever had your heat and air conditioning on in the same day.
You can use your hand as a map.
You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow and a raging blizzard…without flinching.
During Michigan/Michigan State week at least one member of your household disowns you.
To people who live and work in Michigan it has always been with a sense of pride that we talk about our State. In fact, we have one of the highest percentages -- over 76% -- of people who were born in Michigan that still live in Michigan. However, this may not be by choice alone. Over the past few years, the state of Michigan has come upon harder times than most. Michigan lost 860,000 jobs from 2000 to 2009, almost half in the final two years. Add to that the fact that real estate prices are depressed, and you may have a lot of people feeling stuck.
Unfortunately, much of our state hinges on the health of automotive production.
When the automotive companies are struggling, so is the economy of the state. While it may seem like the downswing is here to stay, there are several signs pointing to better times ahead. Recently, a Bloomberg index that tracks the pace of state growth shows the pace of Michigan’s recovery surpassing all but North Dakota -- thanks mostly to automotive industry recovery. While our unemployment average is still well above the national levels, it has improved a full percent over this time last year.
And you never know with Michigan. This past summer, while ratings agencies were downgrading US Government debt, they were making positive comments about Michigan debt, citing a balanced budget and an improving economy as the catalyst.
While the last decade has indeed been a lost decade for Michigan, there is hope on the horizon. So next time you are driving coast-to-coast -- that is Muskegon to Port Huron -- remember how wonderful life in Michigan can be.
Sources: The Geography of Stuck, http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2011/11/geography-stuck/534/