In the latest Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency Economic Indicators report, economist David Zin echoed an observation I made here last month on personal income: The recent increase in a key economic indicator — personal income growth — suggests the very opposite that Michigan has turned a corner.

Since 2001, Michigan has been dead last among the states in personal income growth. During the second quarter of 2009 we leaped all the way up to 7th place. However, the rise was largely attributable to transfer payments, which are mostly welfare, social security, unemployment and other government assistance programs. This is hardly an indicator of general economic improvement.

There was some positive, if mixed, news in the report. Weekly earnings were generally up, but there was wide variation. For example, information services saw a 9.4 percent gain over the year, but wholesale trade declined 6.3 percent.

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Many of the other monthly economic indicators like employment growth, unemployment rate, and home values have also been negative.

Bottom line: There's no turnaround in Michigan yet.


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