Spinal Column: Growth in Oakland County indicative of economic turnaround across Michigan

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Common sense reforms and responsible budgeting continue to help energize Michigan’s economy, which is the fastest growing in the Midwest. Our jobless rate is now 4.7 percent — the lowest it’s been in 15 years. This represents the largest unemployment decrease in the nation over the past seven years.

The Legislature recently wrapped up work on the annual state budget, and for the sixth year in a row, we finished it months ahead of schedule.

Timely budgeting, coupled with the Legislature’s commitment to removing barriers to growth for job creators, have helped stimulate an increase in the personal wages of Michigan residents. According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), there was a 4.2 percent increase in per capita personal income last year, which represents the fourth largest increase in the nation.

Five times in the past six years, Michigan’s per capita income grew faster than the national average. In 2014, the average wage per manufacturing job created was $64,000.

According to the MEDC, Michigan has also achieved these notable results the past several years:
•    460,000 new private sector jobs have been created in the state since December 2010, the sixth highest number of new jobs in the United States;
•    Michigan is the top state in the nation in the number of manufacturing jobs created;
•    66 percent of U.S. manufacturing jobs in 2015 were created in Michigan;
•    28 percent of new jobs created in the state are in manufacturing; and
•    26 percent of Michigan’s total job growth is due to professional and business services, with 105,000 jobs added between December 2010 and December 2015.

An aid to new growth throughout the state has been the Michigan Business Development Program. This is an incentive program available from the Michigan Strategic Fund, in cooperation with the MEDC. The program is designed to provide grants, loans or other economic assistance to businesses for highly competitive projects in Michigan that create jobs and/or provide investment.

Two local communities recently benefited from such grants.

Daifuku North America Holding Company, a subsidiary of one of the largest material handling companies in the world, plans to construct a new headquarters building in Novi to take advantage of the competitive engineering talent market and robust automotive industry in Southeast Michigan. Expected to generate more than $15 million in capital investment and create 85 new jobs, the project received a $700,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Daifuku chose Michigan over a competing site in Ohio.

A project scheduled for Wixom also was recently awarded a Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The TREMEC Corporation was established in Michigan in 1975 and has been involved in the supply of high performance vehicle transmissions, torque transfer solutions and transmissions for commercial, military and heavy duty markets.

The company plans to lease and equip a new building in Wixom and invest approximately $54 million into the U.S. operations, creating 133 jobs. As a result, the project has been awarded a $731,500 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over competing sites in Indiana, Ohio and Mexico.

The cities of Novi and Wixom are supporting these projects with property tax abatements.

I am thankful for the growth in Novi and Wixom — and in Michigan as whole. By working together, we can keep the momentum going and build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.