Blog

GE to Boston, ConAgra to Chicago 1

For years we have used the following quote from Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, to describe what increasingly drives state and local economic growth: “Best place to make a future Forbes 400 fortune? Start with this proposition: The most valuable natural resource in the 21st century is brains. Smart people tend to be mobile. […]


Stagnant manufacturing employment 2

Good news in the latest report on employment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2015 saw the most net new jobs since the boom of the late 1990s. 2.65 million jobs were added in 2015. Of those 35,000 were in manufacturing. You read that right: manufacturing contributed less than one tenth of one percent of […]


Low performing Detroit charter schools

Nearly four years ago I wrote a post entitled Unlimited charters: not smart. Using data for charter schools serving Detroit students––then and now the epicenter of charters in Michigan––it made the case that the charter sector had not earned the right to charter an unlimited number of new schools. Student achievement was too low. Two […]


New report: lessons learned 4

Our latest report identified a clear path to prosperity for states and metropolitan area in an economy shaped by globalization and technology. The only exceptions to the pattern are those few who have been benefiting from high energy prices (like North Dakota). In the midst of an auto boom, Michigan in 2014 is 35th in […]


What about Up North? 2

Recently I have been receiving lots of questions about how to improve the economy in northern lower peninsula Michigan. To be honest, we don’t have good answers. Across the country, in rural areas/small towns––except for those with lots of high priced energy related commodities––incomes and college attainment are low and populations, by and large, are stagnant, […]


The truth about jobs and four year degrees

Two insightful new reports from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. You can read them here and here. The two studies demolish what passes for conventional wisdom on job creation in post Great Recession America. First and foremost, it is not true that we have too many with four year degrees.  From […]


Alarm bells needed II

We finished our last post this way: The bottom line: the Massachusetts approach has worked, Michigan’s hasn’t. Seems like its time for Michigan to learn from the state with the highest student achievement in the country. In this post lets look at the data. It comes from the just released 2015 NAEP, the nation’s report card […]


Alarm bells needed 3

Lots of new data on student achievement by Michigan k-12 students. All with a single conclusion: we are a national laggard. All kids, not just poor kids, minority kids, urban kids. The results from the new state M-STEP assessment show Michigan students in reading––at all tested grade levels––to be about 50% proficient. In math its […]

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The case for a stronger safety net

Two insightful Eduardo Porter columns for the New York Times. One entitled The myth of welfare’s corrupting influence on the poor. The other entitled The Republican party’s strategy to ignore poverty. Both worth reading. The first makes the case that the evidence is that safety net programs do not significantly reduce individual’s willingness to work […]