Michigan, with its rich natural resources, could be among the top 10 states in the areas of tourism, outdoor recreation, and renewable energy if it adds more visitor amenities and services and improves public infrastructure, says a new report by the Business Leaders for Michigan.
“Our natural assets are a powerful engine for economic growth,” says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the state’s business roundtable. “Managed responsibly, with careful attention to long-term environmental impact, Michigan has tremendous opportunities to harness these assets and share them — profitably — with the world.”
The report, The Michigan Natural Resources Business Plan: Leveraging Our Assets to Make Michigan a Top 10 State, finds natural resource industries provide more than 7 percent of all jobs in the state, create more than $32 billion in gross domestic product, and account for about $400 billion in sales. Exports of natural resource industry products from Michigan account for about $61 billion.
However, Rothwell says the state is not ranked in the top 10 nationally on most of those metrics, although Michigan does compare well with other Midwestern states. He says the state has the potential to become a leader in the areas of tourism, outdoor recreation, agriculture, timber, and renewable energy, which have a strong position in terms of employment, gross domestic product, global industry trends, and supporting policies.
Rothwell says in the long term, Michigan is situated to benefit economically from its freshwater resources in areas such as R&D, agriculture, and manufacturing.
He adds public and private stakeholders must improve the public infrastructure that supports natural resources industries, especially rail and highway improvements needed for the export of agriculture, timber, and mining products. In addition, the state should expand the national and international promotion of the state’s assets, like the Pure Michigan campaign, and focus R&D assets on sustainable natural resources products and processes.
To view the full report, click here. â€‹