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Business Leaders for Michigan is an organization dedicated to making Michigan a "Top Ten" state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. Serving as the state's business roundtable, Business Leaders for Michigan is composed of the chairpersons, chief executives or most senior executives of the state’s largest job providers and universities. Read more...

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BUSINESS LEADERS QUARTERLY ECONOMIC FORECAST:Slower near & long-term growth; better in Michigan than nation

DETROIT, Mich., January 26, 2016 – The latest quarterly survey of  Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) members, the state’s business roundtable, forecasts that  the Michigan and U.S. economies will generate very slow growth over the short and long term.  They are slightly more optimistic about Michigan’s economy in long-term.

“Michigan’s largest job providers believe that both the Michigan and U.S. economies will experience very little growth over the next six months, but are more optimistic about Michigan’s growth over the next eighteen months than they are the rest of the nation,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM President & CEO. “Our surveys began forecasting the slow-down in growth we are just beginning to experience today.  This survey indicates slow growth will be with us for the next year or so.”

Highlights of the survey of Business Leaders for Michigan include:

  • Next six months:  Most business leaders believe the Michigan and U. S. economies will remain the same over the next six months (61% and 80%, respectively) with some believing there will be modest growth (34% and 10%, respectively). This is slightly better than the October 2015 survey.


  • Next eighteen months:  About two-thirds (68%) of the business leaders believe the U.S. economy will remain about the same over the next 18 months.    Only about 20% believe the American economy will get better. The outlook for Michigan was more positive that the U.S with 41% believing the state economy would improve, 10% forecasting a decline and 49% predicting it would remain flat.   


The survey also found about half of the business leaders project their companies will add jobs and make capital investments in Michigan over the next six months.

The results reflect a survey of Business Leaders for Michigan’s 80 members, the state’s largest private sector job providers that represent nearly one-third of the state’s economy.  

Quarterly Economic Outlook Reports are available at



Download the press release. 


New Year, New Goals, New Michigan

Michigan's turnaround to date has been the result of a lot of hard work by businesses and people across our state. It's also been facilitated by state tax, fiscal and regulatory changes that created a better business climate.  But there's a stark difference between turning the state around and being a Top Ten state - especially when being Top Ten could mean up to 120,000 more jobs and higher incomes for every Michigander.

That's why we can't let our recent success allow us to become complacent.  We need better tools to attract business.  More educated and skilled workers.  A laser-like focus to ensure MI maintains its signature automotive industry as it becomes increasingly based on technologies developed across the globe.  

If we want to attract more jobs and businesses, MI needs better tools to compete.  We have a good business climate, but so do most of the states we compete against and they offer more incentives to locate there.  That needs to change.

It will take the state getting more serious about making the investments needed to make a college and university education in our state affordable.

Finally, it will take a recognition that while recent tax and fiscal reforms stabilized our finances, we still have more than 1,800 units of government, too little service sharing across these entities and too much debt that could sidetrack our future growth. In fact, we still routinely pass legislation without knowing its potential future costs. 

As we enter a new year, we should be proud of our recent progress.  But looking forward, we should be mindful that our work is far from over.   Let's work together to build a New Michigan.



MI Universities Show Compelling Growth

Most Increase Key Outcomes and Perform Better Than National Peers

DETROIT, Mich. — Michigan’s public universities are showing impressive gains, according to the 2015 update of Business Leaders for Michigan’s Performance Tracker for Public Universities. 

Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) has identified higher education as both critical to producing the talent Michigan needs and a key economic sector that has the potential to build a New Michigan economy. 

“Four out of every five Michigan public universities are increasing their enrollments,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “In the short term, this translates into more students here in our state boosting economic activity and generating new research. Over the long haul, however, higher enrollment means increased investment and potentially higher population, entrepreneurship, and opportunities for statewide economic advancement.” 

This year’s key findings include: 

  • 12 of 15 institutions increased their enrollments
  • 10 of 15 have six-year graduation rates better than their peer average, and 11 have increased their graduation rate in the past year
  • 10 of 15 institutions have student retention rates better than their peer average, and nine have increased their retention rates over the past year
  • 10 of 15 awarded more total degrees than their peer average, and 12 have increased their total number of degrees awarded 

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When It Comes to Talent, Michigan Needs More…of Everything

Michigan Higher Education Partnership Council to Help Boost Educational Attainment

December 10, 2015, LANSING, MI,  — A group of public, private and postsecondary institutions are joining forces to increase educational attainment across Michigan.

The “Keep Learning, Michigan. For All It’s Worth.” campaign launches this week, with a website and social media messages aimed at heightening awareness of the need for teens and adults to continue their education and training beyond high school. These are the first elements of a comprehensive media campaign planned for launch in 2016. The campaign is spearheaded by the Michigan Higher Education Partnership Council.

“We know that within the next five years, 70 percent of Michigan jobs are going to require more than a high school diploma,” said Doug Rothwell, President & CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, which is part of the Council. “Currently, however, only 46 percent of state residents currently have the degrees and certificates they need to be successful.  We need to turn this around—and quickly—if we are going to be competitive as a state.”

“Keep Learning, Michigan” is released on the heels of last week’s report from the Michigan Postsecondary Credential Attainment Workgroup, which highlights the gap between state residents’ educational attainment and the need for skilled, knowledgeable workers.

 “This is about more than just getting and keeping jobs—it’s about how well state residents do economically once they get those jobs,” said Daniel Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. “The evidence is overwhelming: the more one learns, the more he or she earns. Postsecondary education, in all its forms, pays dividends.” 

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Michigan CEOs Review Economic Progress, Discuss Statewide Prosperity at Summit

State Must Boost Value if Growth Is to Continue 

DETROIT, Mich., November 12, 2015 — Michigan’s economic future is threatened by a lack of cohesion behind a common strategy for growing the economy and prioritizing investments in areas that will improve the state’s overall competitiveness such as education and training beyond high school, innovation and assets and economic development according to panelists presenting at today’s CEO summit hosted by Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) in Detroit. 

An audience of 500 senior leaders from the fields of business, policy, education and advocacy gathered at the Westin Book Cadillac for updates and discussion related to Michigan’s economic growth.   

“Thanks to major policy changes since 2009, Michigan’s economy has experienced a surge of growth that has outpaced nearly all other U.S. states,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “However, our progress in absolute terms is still very low compared to our peers. If we want to attract fresh talent and new employers, we need to make absolutely sure the value Michigan offers is worth the cost of locating here.” 

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