An Epic-MRA poll of likely Michigan voters found in November 2011, 33 percent believed the state was on the right track while 54 percent thought it was on the wrong track. But this month, 44 percent feel Michigan's on the right track and 43 percent feel it's on the wrong one.
"There is a significant increase in the percentage of Michigan voters that think the economy is improving, that it's bottomed out and it's now improving," said Bernie Porn, Epic-MRA pollster.
The same poll found last November, 19 percent thought the country was on the right track, and 71 percent, the wrong one. April's numbers are better, with 35 percent feeling it's on the right track, and 55 percent, the wrong one.
"Maybe we're even getting a little bit of momentum," said MSU Economics professor Charles Ballard.
Ballard says since November, the U.S. has added a million jobs.
"The data do indicate continuing improvement and maybe even accelerating improvement, and that's filtering down to the individual lives of a lot of people," he said.
The numbers also indicate an increase in the number of people who think the Michigan economy has already bottomed out and is starting to improve: from 49 percent in January, to now 58 percent.
Porn says that increase parallels the growth of manufacturing in the state.
"A lot of that has to do with the auto industry. They're hiring," he said.
But Ballard says even though we're gaining ground, there's a ways to go before the economy fully recovers.
"So it is one of those things where the glass is getting more and more full, but it's still partly empty," said Ballard.
Professor Ballard also noted, while it may take just a few years for the economy to get back on track in terms of the number of jobs pre-recession, it'll take longer to increase the number of well-paying jobs. Making that transition, he says, will require long-term focus and investment in educating a skilled work force.