Despite the damaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Michigan’s economy has scored national recognition of late from national and international business organizations.

Michigan was ranked as the no. 1 state for fastest jobs growth from foreign companies over the past five years by the Global Business Association. The trade association’s most recent national trends analysis also ranked Michigan No. 3 for the largest concentration of manufacturing jobs created by foreign-owned facilities.

More than 1,400 foreign companies operate at roughly 5,000 locations across the state, as Michigan has tallied $11.3 billion in foreign direct investment since 2015, particularly in auto-related endeavors. International companies in Michigan employ 313,000 workers, with about two-thirds of those jobs in the manufacturing sector. The top employers hail from Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

In addition to the Global Business Alliance ratings, Site Selection Magazine has also ranked Michigan as a top 3 state for foreign direct investment and Detroit is the No. 1 metropolitan area in the U.S. for foreign direct investment projects.

“Our global attraction strategies remain rooted in our strengths in manufacturing and engineering, design and R&D (research and development), with a focus on growing key related sectors including tech, medical devices and professional services,” said Josh Hundt, executive vice president for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

Pfizer pharmaceutical plant

One of the major attractions for overseas businesses opening up shop in Michigan is the state’s low cost of living. Last week, the MEDC announced that a construction trade magazine, Ascent, put Kalamazoo at No. 8 on its annual list of “The 10 Best Cities for High Salaries and Low Cost of Living in the Midwest,” with a cost of living index 23 percent below the national average.

The Ascent report also notes the high density of employment in life sciences in the Kalamazoo area, as the Southwest Michigan region has five times more workers than the U.S. average in the medical devices and supplies sector.

The Pfizer plant in Portage received national attention on Dec. 13 when a convoy of trucks left the facility, carrying the first large shipment of Covid-19 vaccine in the country.

Statewide, Michigan’s cost of living comes in at 10 percent below the national average — making it the fourth most affordable state in the nation.


Welder photo: MEDC

Truck photo: WRCBtv screenshot