Michigan is known as the automotive manufacturing capital of the United States, and with good cause. According to the Michigan Manufacturers Association, nearly one-quarter of all vehicles produced in the U.S. are assembled in Michigan. The industry is so large in the state that its more than 330 automotive research and development companies comprise a bigger group than the rest of the U.S., Mexico and Canada combined, the state's Department of Natural Resources reports.
Tourism and agriculture also are main contributors to Michigan's economy. The state is home to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Holocaust Memorial Center and Henry Ford Museum. Main crops produced in the state include blueberries, cherries, cucumbers and Christmas trees. Other leading industries in Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation reports, include information technology, medical device research and manufacturing, food processing, and logistics and supply chain management.
Bordering four of the five Great Lakes, Michigan has almost 9,700 miles of freshwater shoreline, and its ports handle tens of millions of tons of freight each year. More than 12,000 ships pass through the Soo Locks between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes each year, the University of Michigan reports. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), the following industries were among the major employment sectors in Michigan in May of 2014:
- Trade, transportation and utilities with 753,000 employees
- Education and health services with 635,500 employees
- Professional and business services with 601,700 employees
Students who wish to enter these industries in a variety of careers may choose to pursue an education at Michigan vocational or trade schools.
Michigan population and wage outlook
Michigan had an estimated population of 9.89 million people in 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. The median household income from 2008 through 2012 was $48,471.
According to the BLS, these positions paid the following median hourly wages in Michigan as of May of 2013:
- Mechanical engineers: $41.93
- Radiologic technicians: $24.76
- Engine and machine assemblers: $21.30
- Ship captains and water vessel pilots: $21.28
- Automotive service technicians and mechanics: $17.55
- Team assemblers: $15.96
- Food processors: $12.97
Students may be able to find the career path that's right for them by learning more about Michigan trade schools.
Michigan Facts, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-54463_54466_20829-56001 -- ,00.html
Economy at a Glance: Michigan, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov/eag/eag.mi.htm
Growth industries in the state of Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, http://www.michiganbusiness.org/grow/industries/
State & County QuickFacts: Michigan, U.S. Census Bureau, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/26000.html
The Soo Locks, Michigan State University, http://web2.geo.msu.edu/geogmich/SooLock.html