Michigan is well positioned to create jobs in six emerging industries, according to a recent report on economic opportunities in the state.
“We are fortunate to play and lead in these growing areas,” said John Austin of Michigan’s economic center, an independent organization of policy and action for the State, centered on its economy.
Austin is its director and past chairman of the Michigan Board of Education. An Ann Arbor resident, Austin ran for re-election to the education council as a Democrat and lost in 2016.
The report, released Jan. 11, says that by focusing state policy on the six sectors, Michigan can replace lost jobs, especially in manufacturing.
The state has just registered its 9e consecutive year of job growth, according to researchers at the University of Michigan. However, this represents about 80% of the jobs lost since the Great Recession, and Michigan has 320,000 fewer people than in 2000.
According to the report, opportunities in the following industries amount to $ 18.5 trillion, each seeking innovations and solutions for better and cheaper delivery:
- Energy: The clean energy market is already worth over $ 1.35 trillion globally and over $ 200 billion in the United States.
- Food: It is estimated that Michigan’s food and agriculture industry will contribute about $ 100 billion.
- Water: The growing global water technology sector is estimated at over $ 1,000 billion annually.
- Transport and Mobility: The revolution in the way people and goods are moved is changing – and competitive among major technology hubs.
- Healthcare: Estimated at 1/5 of the US economy, it includes some of the fastest growing global business segments, such as medical devices ($ 400 billion) and health and wellness services ( 800 $ 28 billion).
- Computer Data / Information: The global industry is estimated to have a global growth market of $ 3.8 trillion, and it affects the other five major growth areas.
“These are the arenas of how we, as a world, have a need and these are the growing areas of work.
“… We have the innovation and the ability to lead into these upcoming industries that other places just don’t have,” Austin said.
Michigan automakers and engineering centers are already well on their way to expanding transportation and mobility. And the state already has 22 percent of its workforce employed in agricultural and food development.
Another strength is Michigan’s network of universities, mainly the main sources of funding in the university research corridor: the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.
However, to get more out of it all, Austin recommends changing Michigan’s Economic Development Platform to invest more in what he called “the innovation ecosystem.”
“Incentive dollars (to get businesses to move to Michigan) aren’t very effective for economic development,” Austin said. Instead, he said, a $ 20 million transfer to create an innovation investment fund could attract four times that amount of private investors – and, with reinvestment, turn into a billion dollar jobs engine.
“It’s easy to do,” Austin said. “Michigan’s business and innovation community is behind this build. “
Funding shifts in favor of higher education could also increase the state’s role in life sciences, Austin said. Funding for state universities was cut by 15% in 2010-2011, and five of the 15 state universities still have lower levels of state funding than they lost in this cut.
Other recommendations, as found in the report:
- The state should support the construction of University of Michigan centers of excellence in the areas of water, food, energy, mobility, IT and healthcare.
- Michigan state and communities should set ambitious goals for Michigan’s leadership in the emerging economy to stimulate private sector response and market-driven job creation.
- Make potential polluters pay for the expanded funding of Pure Michigan and the creation of “green and blue” community places by lifting caps and expanding the uses of current funds for natural resources, conservation and rural economic development.
The ultimate goal of the report, said Austin, is to help create “a direction and an environment in which we can develop leadership in these areas to come.
“It’s mainly about unleashing the private sector, the genius of job creation and helping industries to thrive.”