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Brookings: Michigan's Urban and Metropolitan Strategy

February 23, 2012


The Brookings Institution and Public Sector Consulting report that Michigan should take advantage of its second-strongest post-recession recovery by strengthening links between innovation and manufacturing, making targeted investments within urban areas, and supporting highly trained workers and regional systems.

Why has Michigan enjoyed the second-strongest post-recession recovery among the 50 states? Because the state and its metropolitan areas are rich in the assets that will drive the next economy in the U.S. and around the globe.

The recovery has been powered by manufacturing, and Michigan's metropolitan areas are where innovation prowess meets manufacturing experience. Ninety percent of the state's high-tech industry employment and 80 percent of its advanced manufacturing jobs are in metropolitan areas. Six Michigan metropolitan areas had a higher number of patents per 1,000 workers from 2001 to 2010 than the average U.S. metropolitan area.

Exports have moved the US economy forward, as our manufactured goods have met ready markets abroad. Michigan's metropolitan areas are also exceptional at producing goods and providing services that are in demand abroad. Of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, Detroit is 12th in terms of export intensity (the share of its output that is exported), and Grand Rapids ranks 8th. Thirteen of Michigan's 14 metro areas are more export-intense than the U.S. average.

U.S. manufactured goods and exports are competitive to the extent that they are innovative. Michigan's metropolitan areas are home to strong and emerging industry clusters and powerful anchor institutions like universities, medical centers, and research institutes that invent and commercialize new technologies and services.

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