do not read this if you are thinking of moving to michigan

The New York Times is going to be running a really depressing article on Michigan’s economy in tomorrow’s paper. Here are a few of the highlights:

The bad news keeps coming to Michigan, a state long stuck in recession and at ground zero in the national economic downturn. But unlike in months and years past, there are no exceptions to the despair….

New data show the state’s unemployment rate crept up to 9.3 percent, almost three times what it was in 2000, and, along with Rhode Island, the highest in the country. Just last week, Herman Miller Inc., an office furniture company based in Zeeland, Mich., announced that it would eliminate or lay off 400 to 650 workers, many of them in western Michigan. SKD Automotive, an auto parts manufacturer in Jonesville, Mich., where it is the largest employer, indicated it would eliminate 300 jobs.

As a result of the steady job losses that began in the summer of 2000, 1.82 million Michigan residents, or close to 20 percent of the population, are now on some form of public assistance, including food stamps and home heating credits, a record for the state…

Around the state, home foreclosures are commonplace, the trust fund that pays unemployment benefits is millions of dollars in debt, food banks are struggling and health agencies are reporting an uptick in people with symptoms like anxiety and depression. Suicides were up in recent years, although officials caution against drawing any direct links between deaths and the economy.

In one sign of distress, in the first nine months of this year, some 130,000 Michigan residents who had lost their jobs remained out of work so long that they ran out of regular unemployment benefits. By the middle of this month, 63,000 people (who had already run out of their ordinary maximum benefit — as many as 26 weeks, at as much as $362 a week) also ran out of an extension authorized by Congress…

After six years of cuts in the state’s budget, more trims seem inevitable because of a shortfall this fiscal year, expected by one estimate to be $400 million….

So, that’s where we are after weathering five years of recession. I wonder how many of us would still be here if we didn’t have homes that we knew we couldn’t sell.

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  1. Dirtgrain
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Look on the bright side? Cheap housing available. Cheap space available for businesses. Cheap equipment. Entrepreneurial opportunities abound. Cheap labor. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Come to Michigan and save. Start a new life. And Michigan is beautiful, with good water sources.

  2. egpenet
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 9:41 am | Permalink


    This is EXACTLY why I commented earlier on the Dingell thread.

    This is the PERFECT time to re-tool the car companies and suppliers to mass transit and energy grid components right here in Michigan and our neighboring states.

    I have a friends relocating to Adrian. They are bidding on a 4 bedroom, two story home in the old part of town. (They ARE preservation buffs, as well.) But the house is eminently liveable. It has aluminum siding, but all of the original trims are on the house. It’s really a cute place! Asking price: $39,200.

    “I could put this on my credit card!” my friend quipped.

    As soon as Obama is in and the credit markets unlock a bit, companies will consider reinvesting. We have a few months to hang on … if we can.

  3. Bignumone
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I know I would leave were it not for my home! Since Granholm and the Democrats took over, this state has been on a steady down hill slide. Thank god Englar made sure the excessive “rainy day fund” was given back to the people of this state. This administration would just have wasted it on who knows what!
    Blame it on the auto industry? Since she/they were reelected, there has been a steady stream of businesses leaving this state. I lost my job when Pfizer could no longer take the barrage of attacks from Granholm/Stabenow/Levin/Dingell. I think this state became so unfriendly to business that no one wants to open one here.
    Blame it on not buying American? Hey, did you support importing drugs? Particularly generics? Why were YOU not buying American? Why were YOU not insisting that doctors prescribe American “big pharma” drugs? Because they are more expensive? Hmmmm, I feel the same way about the American cars. For what you get, they are sooooo much cheaper…AND have better quality and gas mileage.
    So sure, come to Michigan and buy a house on your credit card. But be prepared for a really depressed state. And Obama is not/can not fix this! We need to clean house at the state and local level. Democrat, Republican, I don’t care. We just need honest people with new ideas besides bail outs and hand outs!

  4. Posted November 23, 2008 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I love Michigan. I don’t ever want to leave, but I get worried about staying.

  5. egpenet
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I’m saying that the midwest already HAS the talent to engineer, design and build almost anything out of sand, rocks, metals and plastics. And, yes, even chemicals, former Pfizer person.

    When I was growing up, every vitamin and drug I used had a purple Parke-Davis label.

    Stop the blame game and look forward. List our needs and priorities … and then go DO it. Put your lists of wants and desires away for a moment. We are gearing up to save our cities, families and homes.

    Move to another state? We’ve been telling folks out of state, “Just wait. This is not a Michigan/Ohio problem.” Well, it’s now WORSE from Rhode Island to California. Where’ya gonna run?

    Stay put and help us get the job done right here in Michigan … in Ypsilanti … in your neighborhood … your street. Instead of asking Santa for stuff, make a list of what you’re willing to put back into society, if you have anything to give … time or talent or money. Let’s move on.

  6. Posted November 23, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Jobless people: leave Michigan. It will leave more for the rest of us. We can’t support you. Go to South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi where the jobs are.

  7. mark
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I certainly think that there are opportunities to be had in Michigan. It’s just that, on the whole, the situation looks incredibly bleak. There’s no denying that.

    And, how’s this for an idea… We send Phoenix water for the next decade, but they agree to take all of our unemployed… And I’m not at all joking.

  8. Dirtgrain
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, the Nebraska safe-haven law.

    I would like to say that pharmaceuticals screwed us–not vice versa. They still are.

  9. Robert
    Posted November 23, 2008 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I am not thinking about moving to Michigan. In fact, I am already here and planning to move out west. But just to be safe, I didn’t read this posting anyway.

  10. Posted November 23, 2008 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I have no plans to move – not that I could sell my house if I wanted to! Michigan is a great place to live. We have everything here to be successful. If the governmental, big business, and big union leadership would get their collective heads out of their collective rear ends, our formerly one-state recession would already be in the past. We have the capacity (people, knowledge, infrastructure, amenities) to blow any other state out of the water from an economic development perspective.

    I guess I should be grateful that we’re not doing better – after all, then everyone would be moving here again and we would lose more of the natural beauty that is part of what makes Michigan so attractive.

  11. Posted November 23, 2008 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    The people who need to read that are all the people I run into here in NYC who think that the Wall Street bailout was a necessary evil but the auto industry deserves what they get, consequences be damned. I don’t think people really understand what’s about to happen if any of the big 3 enter chapter 11. I think the best of bad options is to cut them a check with a painful set of requirements to keep them afloat, that include incentives to encourage serious retuning and retooling of their companies (lower emissions, manufacture of green tech and transit components).

    But if nothing happens, I suspect my couch here in NYC to be full of Rust Belt Okies for the next few years while people look for places to resettle.

  12. Curt Waugh
    Posted November 24, 2008 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    mark, not one drop — NOT ONE DROP — of water can ever leave the basin. Water is not the oil of the midwest. Oil deep underground it not very important to the living ecosystem on it. You want water, you come here, plain and simple. I realize that various states have allowed some bottling and shipping of water. This is, in my opinion, a disaster.

    The Great Lakes area is suffering horribly and I fear that the new power bases in arid lands are going to flat-out demand our water eventually. They will kill our ecosystem and make every excuse and create every “study” how it’s not really hurting us all that bad. Meanwhile, they’ll laugh at us while they play golf in Phoenix and Las Vegas.


  13. Posted November 24, 2008 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Logistically, it would cost BILLIONS to pipe water from the Great Lakes to the southwest, so much so that it would be cheaper for the Arizonians to just move somewhere where there’s water. Maybe they could come here. Oh wait. That would suck.

  14. Posted November 26, 2008 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    CA unemployment is up to 8.2% now, highest in 14 years, with state funds for unemployment about to run out, read the newspaper headlines around the Bay Area. it’s bad all around.

  15. mark
    Posted November 26, 2008 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, we’re all on the same path. We just had a four year head start.

  16. Jim
    Posted November 30, 2008 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Mark–have you seen this article? Promising U of M energy research:

  17. mark
    Posted November 30, 2008 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I did see that, Jim, and I actually know the inventor. He’s a good guy. I’m hoping that the technology works out the way he expects it to when he puts it in the Detroit River.

  18. mark
    Posted November 30, 2008 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    And this is a good example of why we may not be irrelevant yet.

  19. Nicole Silverberg
    Posted February 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Oh, Shit! My car was all packed up, and I was getting ready to start driving east, when, on a lark, I decided to get out my iPhone and do an internet search. I had no idea that things were so fucked up in Detroit. All I knew was that they were getting a rad new Robocop statue. Now, I’m not so sure I want to go.

  20. Moving but not to Mi
    Posted February 19, 2011 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Good water sources, Dirtgrain?
    Wasn’t it Michigan who recently dumped petroleum in one of your rivers?

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