Michigan leads Great Lakes states in personal income growth

Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan’s personal income grew 5.2 percent in 2011 – the highest per capita level in a decade – and ranks 15th in the nation, according to a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. And that’s just one indicator of an economic recovery, said experts at Grand Valley State and Oakland universities. Tricia Kinley, senior director of tax and regulatory reform at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, said, “Undoubtedly, the state’s overall job growth would have to be the main factor that is pushing our residents’ personal income in a positive direction.”
Kinley said the state’s primary industry, manufacturing, is showing signs of recovery – particularly auto manufacturing – and job providers overall express more confidence in the direction that Michigan is heading. Earnings, one of three major components of personal income, rose 5.2 percent in Michigan from 2010 to 2011, but was below peaks reached in 2007 or 2008, according to the federal report. Although Michigan appears to be turning the corner, there is still significant work to be done to improve the business climate, which would, in turn, motivate employers to expand their businesses, Kinley said.

State occupy movements plan to protest through the winter

Capital News Service
LANSING—Organizers of Occupy protests across Michigan plan to work through the winter, but whether they continue to live in city parks and public spaces varies by city. “We widely see camping out as one tool in the tool box,” said Scott Warren, a media contact for Occupy Grand Rapids. “One tool is not going to fix everything in a house so we need to look at what our next tool will be.”
The Michigan groups are working with Occupy Wall Street in New York City, where the movement started in protest against the 1 percent of people who they say control the country’s economic wealth and caused the country’s economic downturn. They have efforts in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Detroit, Flint and Ann Arbor. The presence in city parks is only the first step of a wider goal to draw attention to financial inequalities and social injustices that protesters say plague the state and country, Warren said.

Anti-immigrant bills could dampen jobs growth

Capital News Service
LANSING – Studies show that immigrants are twice as likely to start a business as other people, so several Michigan organizations are welcoming them to spur economic growth. But despite support from Gov. Rick Snyder, state agencies and non-profit organizations, bills pending in the Legislature could undermine that effort, said Anika Fassia, a policy analyst with the Michigan League for Human Services. With the state trying to climb out of a decade-long recession, hindering a population known to revive local economies is puzzling, she said. “At a time of really high unemployment and in a state that was the only one to lose population, it makes no sense to impose or implement any anti-immigrant legislation when they have proven to contribute to the local economy, create businesses, create jobs,” she said. Immigrants were responsible for 32.8 percent of high-tech start-up companies in Michigan between 1995 and 2006, according to a report by the Michigan League for Human Services.