2017 Was Good For Michigan

State economy continues to expand

Michigan businesses and residents continue to produce more and employ more people, and the economic well-being of residents increased in 2017.

The available economic data that has been released so far is optimistic, though much of the information about the state’s 2017 performance won’t be released until later in the year.

The first three quarters of 2017 saw per capita personal incomes increased by 2.4 percent over the previous year. That is higher than the 2.1 percent national average and 12th-highest among the states. And it is a good indicator that Michigan residents are more prosperous.

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The latest report on housing prices says Michigan’s year-to-date home prices increased 12th-most among the states over the year and the most in the region.

Employment continued to increase. The survey of employers pegged average year-over-year growth at 67,100 jobs for the first 11 months of 2017, a 1.6 percent gain. The survey of households pointed a little higher, at 72,300 jobs, but still a 1.6 percent gain.

Michigan’s population increased from mid-year 2016 to 2017, according to estimates. Migration turned positive, with gains in the number of people coming into Michigan from other countries and a smaller loss of people to other states. That lags national growth, but it is an improvement from being the only state to lose population from 2000 to 2010.

That’s important. The value of all of the things produced and services provided in Michigan, adjusted for inflation, has fully recovered from Michigan’s one-state recession. The measure, real gross domestic product, came in at an annualized total of $446 billion in the second quarter of 2017, the most recent figure available. That is above the $431 billion for all of 2005.

And after Michigan suffered by being the state with the most people leaving, there is a roughly even flow of people moving in and moving out, according to data from United Van Lines. Better yet, Michigan was best in the region. The report also noted that the state lost people due to retirement but had more people moving in for work-related reasons than leaving for work-related reasons.

There are some policies that can enhance the state’s economic growth. Lawmakers can afford to reduce the state personal income tax and let residents keep more of their earnings. And the state can improve the state’s occupational licensing regime. But the state’s growth has been strong and in some measures the state has fully recovered from a decade of awful performance.

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