Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Skip to content
gloved hands soldering an electric vehicle battery

The Michigan Manufacturing Renaissance

Michigan, a renowned manufacturing powerhouse in the Midwest, is experiencing a remarkable surge in investment and growth within the manufacturing sector. Recent developments highlight two significant areas of progress: the widespread adoption of automation solutions and the thriving clean energy manufacturing industry. These trends are not only shaping Michigan’s economic future but also creating abundant opportunities for job creation, technological advancements, and sustainable growth.

Driving Manufacturing Forward with Automation Solutions:

One remarkable transformation taking place is the rapid adoption of automation solutions by manufacturers across West Michigan. Companies like HS Inc., based in Walker, have strategically transitioned from their traditional tool and die segment to focus exclusively on automation solutions. This proactive shift, driven by market disruptions and heightened competition, has opened new doors for HS Inc. to explore innovative directions. Today, the company serves diverse markets such as aerospace and consumer goods, underscoring the significance of automation in enhancing efficiency, reducing labor requirements, and optimizing ergonomics.

The demand for automation extends well beyond HS Inc. Other manufacturers in West Michigan, including JR Automation, Axis Automation, and Apex Control, have invested millions of dollars to expand their teams and capacities for automation projects. Thanks to the region’s strength in advanced manufacturing and the growing demand for Industry 4.0 capabilities, this growth has been possible. Manufacturers recognize that automation is a vital ingredient for success, enabling them to overcome labor shortages, boost productivity, and enhance competitiveness.

Fueling Economic Growth through Clean Energy Manufacturing:

Michigan’s commitment to clean energy and climate action has attracted substantial investments in the clean energy manufacturing sector. Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, which aims to achieve a net-zero economy by 2050, has positioned Michigan as a leader in clean energy. This forward-looking plan, combined with federal incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act, has spurred over $8 billion worth of clean energy projects and created thousands of job opportunities across the state.

The scale of investment in clean energy manufacturing underscores the significant economic benefits that accompany efforts to combat climate change. Leading Michigan-based companies such as General Motors, Ford, and Siemens have actively supported both federal and state climate policies, recognizing the immense potential for job creation, energy security, and long-term economic sustainability. By embracing public policy support and private sector engagement, Michigan is poised to capitalize on the clean energy boom that is sweeping the nation.

Looking Ahead: Implementing the MI Healthy Climate Plan and Embracing Clean Energy’s Future:

Michigan’s policymakers fully grasp the unprecedented opportunity at hand. They have introduced the MI Clean Energy Future Plan, a comprehensive suite of clean energy legislation aligned with the MI Healthy Climate Plan, as a testament to their commitment to seizing this moment. The plan includes an ambitious objective of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035, which is both bold and attainable. Such an achievement would align with the state’s climate goals and significantly enhance its appeal to clean energy investors.

Analysts predict that, with the right policies in place, Michigan could attract $26 billion in clean energy investment while greatly improving public health. Michigan’s rich industrial heritage and skilled workforce position it as an ideal candidate to lead the global transition toward a sustainable future. By implementing the MI Healthy Climate Plan and adopting a 100% clean electricity standard, Michigan can solidify its position as a leading hub for clean energy manufacturing. This will attract companies, capitalize on the economic opportunities of the clean energy economy, and ensure a prosperous future for the state.

Michigan’s Economic Prospects: Navigating Challenges and Fostering Inclusive Growth

While Michigan’s economic outlook is filled with promise, it is essential to acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead. There are concerns about an anticipated economic downturn, and economists project a slowdown in economic growth through the rest of 2023 and into 2024, impacting various sectors. Uncertain economic outlooks at the national and state levels contribute to the current landscape.

One sector that has traditionally played a vital role in Michigan’s economy is the auto industry. Despite recent supply chain issues and vehicle shortages, the industry has demonstrated resilience. The backlog of demand resulting from these challenges is expected to cushion employment in the auto sector, even as the national economy slows down. Economists forecast that auto manufacturing will add approximately 2,000 jobs per year in Michigan from 2023 to 2025. By the end of 2025, blue-collar jobs are projected to be about 4% higher than pre-pandemic levels, indicating growth and recovery.

However, it is crucial to address concerns about living standards and income stagnation in Michigan. Incomes have not kept pace with inflation, leading to a projected decline in living standards for state residents from 2019 to 2025. This highlights the need for concerted efforts to address income disparities and ensure that economic growth benefits all segments of the population.

Congressman Dan Kildee has introduced the bipartisan Modernizing Agricultural and Manufacturing Bonds Act to support small and medium manufacturers and farmers in Michigan. The proposed legislation aims to update federal rules governing manufacturing and agricultural bonds, which are essential tools used by state and local agencies to drive economic development. The bill includes provisions to raise the maximum bond size, modernize definitions, eliminate restrictions, and align tax code definitions. With bipartisan support, the legislation seeks to enhance access to capital, reduce borrowing costs, and stimulate job creation in Michigan’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors, bolstering economic growth and competitiveness.

While Michigan faces economic uncertainties, the state’s manufacturing renaissance is undeniably propelling it forward. By embracing automation solutions, leading the way in clean energy manufacturing, and navigating challenges with strategic planning and inclusive growth initiatives, Michigan is well-positioned to emerge as a global leader in the manufacturing sector.

Share Our Post

Anonymous colleagues using laptop and analyzing chart while sitting at table during business conference in office

WSI is here to help you get started.

Starting with an audit of your current employer brand, we’ll help you strategically attract top talent so you can hire — and keep! — the best people for your organization.