Free Enterprise Staff  | November 2, 2015

What’s Happening in Lansing, Michigan?

The next stop on our #SiliconCitiesUSA tour is Lansing, Michigan.

Like many former hubs of automobile manufacturing, Lansing, Michigan fell on hard times during the latter part of the 20th century, as U.S. dominance was challenged by upstart carmakers in Japan and elsewhere around the globe. Michigan, in particular, struggled to remain competitive in a newly reorganized industry, one that was becoming increasingly—and rapidly—globalized in nature.

What did all this mean for Michigan? The state lost nearly 1 million jobs between 2000 and 2010, according to MLive. But its fortune has begun to turn around recently, especially over the past five or so years. After years of struggling to compete, Michigan has experienced something of a rebirth, one epitomized by the economic transformation that’s currently taking place in Detroit.

Lansing has similarly seen its fortunes change. Its unemployment rate has fallen markedly over the past decade, and it now stands at 3.6%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s significantly lower than the national average, and it represents a substantial fall from even the mid-point of this year, when the city’s unemployment rate stood at 5.0%.

Lansing has benefited from state-wide initiatives like a move that cut the tax burden businesses were forced to pay, as well as a restructuring of the auto manufacturing sector that helped revitalize U.S. carmakers. But what else has changed? Stay tuned over the course of the month, as we take a deep dive into Lansing, Michigan to show just how the city has staged a pretty amazing economic comeback.

What is #SiliconCitiesUSA?

Over the course of this year, we’re exploring how entrepreneurs and businesses are faring in non-major U.S. cities, beginning with Des Moines, Iowa. We’ll be reporting on the ground from each city, talking with elected officials and business leaders about how they’re harnessing their unique resources and local talent to fuel economic growth and better compete against more established urban centers like San Francisco and New York City.