Since about the time that I was in college, Michigan has been losing jobs. When I try to explain to people what the economy in Michigan is like, it’s difficult, because there are few, if any areas of the country that have experienced the economic stagnation to the extent that has taken place there. I usually ask whomever I’m speaking with if they remember the recession in 2001. When they respond that they do, I tell them that Michigan, to this day, has never emerged from it. I then usually talk about what it’s like to drive along certain streets in metro Detroit, literally seeing nothing but ‘For Sale/Lease’ signs out front of empty commercial buildings for dozens of blocks at a time. It’s depressing. In many ways, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Michigan has been the economic ‘Ground Zero’ of the past decade.
Thankfully, the news in Michigan, like much of the country is slowly turning positive. And for good reason. Job losses in Michigan have leveled off. Metro Detroit is projected to add jobs in 2011, the first time in a decade (not hyperbole, actually ten years) that the region has seen positive growth in the jobs market. It’s not many jobs (2600), but the momentum is headed in the right direction, and at least the net numbers indicate that more people are finding work as opposed to losing it. Employment is a lagging indicator, meaning that employers typically hire not in advance of an economic recovery, but once all available evidence points to the fact that it has solidly arrived.
This has got to be a relief to many, many people. I know it is to me. At last, at long, long last, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.