Business Leaders Issues 2010 Benchmarking Report

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DETROIT, Mich., March 17, 2010 – Business Leaders for Michigan today released a comprehensive benchmarking report that assessed Michigan’s economic competitiveness on more than one hundred factors important to job creation. The report is based on an extensive fact-based analysis of Michigan’s performance compared to peer regions using both input and output factors over a nine year period.

The Business Leaders for Michigan report reached the following conclusions:

  • Michigan’s economic performance has eroded significantly, with both GDP growth over the past 18 months and unemployment last among the 50 states.
  • The state’s business costs are uncompetitive, with the cost of doing business 4% above the national average – driven by high corporate taxes and total labor costs.
  • Michigan is delivering average to above average results from innovation and entrepreneurism, but additional work is needed to become a leading state.
  • The state’s quality of life has strong fundamentals, but has a very poor perception.

“Michigan has underperformed in economic growth in 90 percent of economic sectors since 2000,” said Hans-Werner Kaas, Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company’s Detroit Office and Business Leaders board member. “But there are genuine strengths that Michigan could better leverage to turn this situation around, like our engineering talent base, universities, manufacturing skills, and quality of life. We need to find ways to build on these advantages, and we need a well-diversified strategy for scaling economic development into adjacent industries with attractive growth potential.”

“This report shows Michigan ranking average to below average on nearly every measure of economic competitiveness relative to other states. In today’s competitive world, this is an unacceptable position if we hope to dramatically create more jobs – which is the fundamental challenge facing our state,” said Richard Russell, president & CEO of Amerisure and Co-Chair of Business Leaders’ Benchmarking Committee.  “Businesses outside of Michigan recognize our poor standing as they rank us 48th out of 50 states as a desirable place to invest in and grow jobs.”

“The 4 percentage point penalty businesses pay in Michigan can be the entire profit margin for many companies – whether they stay in business or not,” said Mark Murray, president of Meijer, Inc. and Co-Chair of the Business Leaders Benchmarking Committee.  “We just have to do a better job getting competitive on costs to leverage our strengths in a more powerful way.”

“Business Leaders for Michigan believes Michigan must become a Top Ten state for jobs and economic growth if we want a high quality of life.  This report demonstrates the need to implement actions like those outlined in the Michigan Turnaround Plan if we are to ever become a Top Ten state again,” said Doug Rothwell, president & CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.  “Many of the recommendations in that plan were based upon the data gathered for the benchmarking report.”

The fact-based analysis for the benchmarking report was conducted by McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, and led by Patrick Finn and Hans-Werner Kaas, Partners in McKinsey’s Detroit office.  The report builds on previous benchmarking studies conducted by Detroit Renaissance, the predecessor organization to Business Leaders for Michigan.  The report, and previous studies, can be found at:  businessleadersformichigan.com.  The Michigan Turnaround Plan can be found at:  michiganturnaroundplan.com.

About Business Leaders for Michigan:

Business Leaders for Michigan (www.BusinessLeadersforMichigan.com) is a private, non-profit executive leadership organization dedicated to making Michigan a “Top Ten” state for job and economic growth. The organization is composed exclusively of the chairpersons, chief executives or most senior executives of Michigan’s largest companies and universities, which provide over 300,000 jobs in Michigan, generate over $1 Trillion in annual revenue and serve over 130,000 students. The organization’s work is defined by the Michigan Turnaround Plan, a holistic, fact-based strategy to get Michigan’s economy back on track. Visit www.michiganturnaroundplan.com for more information.

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