Michigan was ranked 16th among the 50 states in per-capita state GDP in 1999,[191] the year the MEDC was formed. The state has since tumbled to 41st.[192] In fact, from 1999 through 2008, Michigan was the only state in the union with a negative state GDP growth rate. Michigan has effectively experienced a "lost decade" of economic growth, and during that time, Michigan shed a staggering 728,100 jobs — though admittedly, many of these ended in recent months, during the general national economic decline.[193] Regardless, Michigan's per-capita personal income ranking has tumbled from 16th to 34th since 1999 and is now 11.2 percent below the national average, the lowest point it has reached since the start of the Great Depression, when record-keeping began.

Moreover, since 1995, when MEGA was born and the state began making significant new "investments" in economic development programs, Michigan has finished 50th among the 50 states in percentage employment growth. Michigan is the only U.S. state to have experienced a net loss of jobs over that period.[194]

And consider the period of America's last economic expansion, roughly from 2002 through 2007. During that time, Michigan's real GDP declined by 1.7 percent, while the average U.S. state's real GDP expanded by 14.4 percent.[195] This statistic is disturbing because the Great Lakes State has traditionally done better during periods of national expansion than its sister states and worse during recessions. In this case, however, Michigan did poorly during the national expansion. Now that the nation is in a sharp recession, Michigan's fortunes are likely to sink even lower.

Currently, Michigan's unemployment rate is 15 percent, 5.6 percentage points above the national average.[196] The state has held the worse unemployment rate in the nation for 41 months.


[191] Author's calculations based on "Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Economic Accounts: Gross Domestic Product by State," Bureau of Economic Analysis, http://www.bea.gov/regional/gsp/ (accessed August 30, 2009).

[192] Author's calculations based on Ibid.

[193] Author's calculations based on "State and Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings: Michigan (Statewide, Total Nonfarm, Seasonally Adjusted)," Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/outside.jsp?survey=sm (accessed August 30, 2009).

[194] Author's calculations based on "State and Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings: Michigan (Statewide, Total Nonfarm, Nonseasonally Adjusted)," Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/outside.jsp?survey=sm (accessed July 10, 2009).

[195] Author's calculations based on "Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Economic Accounts: Gross Domestic Product by State."

[196] "Regional and State Employment and Unemployment: July 2009," Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 7, 2009 and "The Employment Situation — July 2009," Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 7, 2009.