Almost every computer work station is in use inside the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Public Library, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009, in Cincinnati. The library has seen a significant increase in visitors as people are using the research material available to search for jobs and employment information. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
If Michigan wants to save its economy, it needs to make some changes.
"The knowledge economy now is the growing sector in the American economy where most of the new jobs are -- where all of the high wage jobs are," said Lou Glazer of Michigan Future.
And that's not in Michigan according Glazer and his Michigan Future Report. Glazer says Michigan needs to focus on training young professionals and keeping them here, especially in the growing fields of information technology, finance, healthcare, and education. The average wage in those fields, close to $60,000 compared to just $33,000 in other sectors.
"If we continue to focus exclusively on the auto industry, we're going to continue to get poorer."
An industry that has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs this decade. Glazer says if you want an auto job, be prepared to work for a low wage.
"Good-paying low-skill work which was one of the pillars that built high prosperity is Michigan is toast. Good-paying low-skill jobs are gone, not just here but around the country."
But UAW Local 602 President Brian Fredline says the industry isn't dead, just on life support.
"They still are going to need to build domestic vehicles," Fredline said. "Why not build them in Michigan?"
And even as Michigan looks to diversify its economy and move toward a knowledge-based future, the auto industry will always be in the equation.
"Not everybody is going to be able to go to college. Not everybody builds a car as well as they stand in front of a courtroom. We all have different talents."
Different talents, Fredline says, that will help to make up Michigan's economy of the future.