Report: Michigan’s Mobility Industry Supported 1 In Every 5 Jobs In 2019

March 24, 2021

Detroit Free Press

By Adrienne Roberts

Nearly one in every five workers in Michigan was either directly or indirectly employed by the mobility industry in 2019, according to a report released Wednesday by the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto group.

The report looked to quantify the economic contribution of the state’s mobility industry — which includes automotive, transportation and other related industries — for the first time before the pandemic hit and decimated those industries, particularly in the second half of 2020.

The mobility industry is recovering, but unevenly, with goods-producing industries, like vehicles, starting to rebound. At the same time, many service sectors, including passenger transportation, haven’t recovered, the report said.

But the chamber wanted to measure the industry’s contribution before the pandemic to compare it with future years as the economy recovers.

Mobility encompasses the automotive industry but also includes rail, drones and other industries that include the movement of goods and people.

“With the way that transportation and the Internet of Things are all intertwined, particularly in a shared-use economy with Uber and Lyft, it’s a bigger umbrella,” said Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto program. “As transportation, electrification, connectivity, all these things come into more prominence, it’s a real economic opportunity.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • The mobility industry directly employed nearly 570,000 workers statewide, which supported an additional 526,000 indirect jobs, a total of almost 1.1 million jobs.
  • It directly and indirectly paid $71 billion in compensation (salary and benefits for payroll employees and the income of self-employed), for an average compensation of $65,000.
  • Directly and indirectly, it contributed $304 billion in gross economic output, 28% of Michigan’s gross economic output.
  • It directly and indirectly generated more than $9 billion in state and local taxes.

Within the mobility industry, the automotive industry was the largest contributing sector, directly and indirectly supporting nearly 684,000 jobs statewide, paying a total of $48 billion in compensation, and adding $230 billion to Michigan’s gross economic output.

“This sector of our economy is in everyone’s backyard,” said Stevens. “It pervades all the communities of Michigan and it’s across our entire state.”

He said it’s important that Michigan has an attractive business climate for this industry to grow. But he said that must coexist with the talent required for companies that are already here, or looking to move here.

“That is an evolving talent base, which is really going to depend on a lot of new skills,” he said. “They are digital skills, more and more.”

But first, the industry must recover after coming to nearly a complete stop during the pandemic. Trends that accelerated in the pandemic — such as working from home and the ability for companies to recruit for remote-only positions — could further impact the industry’s recovery. 

Employment in Michigan’s manufacturing industry is down nearly 8% in January compared with January 2020, according to the most recent data available from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Employment in trade, transportation and utilities is down 3%.

“One of the biggest issues right now is how we will work in the future,” Stevens said. “That had already been evolving, but the pandemic was a major inflection point for that.”

But he said the industry relies on communication and collaboration, which wouldn’t eliminate the office entirely.

“The industry itself has been evolving and will continue to evolve in the pandemic,” he said. “I think enabled it in a good way.”

View original article here.  

Mobility Industry Makes Essential Economic Contribution to Michigan

First-of-its-Kind Report Highlights the Mobility Industry’s Economic Impact

MICHauto released its 2021 Mobility Industry’s Economic Contribution to Michigan report on Wednesday, March 24, during the State of Automobility event. Glenn Stevens Jr., the executive director for MICHauto, presented key findings from the study and discussed the challenges and highlights for Michigan’s signature industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defining Mobility

The report defines the mobility industry “as the production and distribution of goods and provision of services that support any movement of people and products.” The report highlights how many jobs are tied directly and indirectly to the mobility industry and the significant impact on the region’s overall economy. The report focuses on data from 2019, which was the last year of complete economic data, and includes an early analysis of how COVID-19 impacted the industry.

“The continuous transformation of automotive to a new mobility industry is an economic benefit to individual Michiganders, our region, and the state. Michigan must position itself to capitalize on the economic opportunity of mobility and lead with technology that solves global issues,” said Stevens. “We must utilize the auto industry as a platform for diversification, with mobility leading to an expansion of data science, robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation that positions Michigan for sustained economic growth.”

An Essential Contribution to Michigan

The report used data from 2019, the last full year of economic data that could accurately be measured, and an update on earlier MICHauto economic studies that only looked at the automotive sector. This year’s report defines the automotive sector as part of a growing mobility industry and offers a comprehensive assessment of the industry’s significant contributions to Michigan’s economy.

It is clear from the data how critical the mobility industry is for the state. Michigan’s mobility industry total economic output was $304 billion in 2019, which makes it larger than Germany’s $250 billion. That $304 billion represents 23% of Michigan’s gross state product, and more than 1.1 million jobs are either directly or indirectly tied to the industry. This is more than 25% of Michigan’s 4 million private-sector jobs. These are also some of the highest-paying jobs in our state. The average compensation for a worker in the industry is $65,000 compared with the state average of just under $30,000.

“It is clear from this report that the mobility industry is growing, and Michigan must utilize our head start as the automotive capital of the world,” said Stevens. “Transformational mobility will lead to an expansion of data science, robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation that positions the state for sustained economic growth.”

COVID-19’s Impact on the Industry

Stevens shared with the audience the challenges the industry has been through over the past year. However, he was quick to point out MICHauto’s leadership in helping safely reopen manufacturing and the resiliency of the industry. As a direct result of MICHauto’s lobbying, the state allowed a critical ramp-up period for automotive suppliers to safely and productively restart the industry’s supply chain.

MICHauto recognized that it was not enough just to lobby the Governor to open manufacturing. The industry had to be responsible for keeping automotive employees safe and our communities healthy. That led to the Mask Up Michigan and the Work Smart, Play Smart to Keep Manufacturing Open campaigns. Manufacturing reopened on May 11, 2020, and has stayed open since.

“The COVID-19 pandemic had a devasting initial impact on Michigan’s manufacturing; however, innovation and safety protocols allowed the automobility industry to safely reopen and lead a significant recovery for the state in the second half of 2020,” said Stevens.

The report was created in partnership with Public Sector Consultants and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s support.

MICHauto Recognizes Dennis Hoeg as Volunteer of the Year

Dennis Hoeg, vice president and North America division president of Nexteer Automotive, was awarded the MICHauto Volunteer of the Year during the 2021 State of Automobility event. Each year MICHauto recognizes one person as its Volunteer of the Year. That person is someone who has consistently demonstrated our mission to promote, retain, and grow the automobility industry across the state of Michigan.

Hoeg is responsible for Nexteer’s North America business, and he is also a member of the company’s Global Strategy Council. Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto, presented Hoeg with the award in person during a social distanced ceremony at Nexteer Automotive.

“Dennis has been an integral part of our MICHauto Board of Directors and an outstanding voice for our industry,” said Stevens. “We appreciate his efforts, especially during this last year, in advocating for safe return to work in the face of a pandemic.

“I am humbled by the award because this is what we do in the industry,” said Hoeg during the ceremony. “It has been a crazy year, but it also shows how resilient the industry is, especially the people. What they have been able to accomplish is amazing.”

Hoeg also outlined his vision for the future, “We remain focused on making Michigan the center of the mobility industry.”

As the industry takes meaningful steps towards becoming more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, Hoeg has been at the forefront of that change as one of the founding members of the CEO Coalition for Change. Hoeg has been a leader across all of MICHauto’s pillars of engagement, from CEO Convening and Talent to Advocacy and New Mobility.

“He has shown leadership in being a founding member of the CEO Coalition for Change, as the industry takes meaningful steps towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce and community,” said Stevens.

Congratulations, Dennis.

In Case You Missed SOA 2021: Automotive Tech Talks

The second half of the State of Automobility presentation featured Automotive Tech Talks covering a variety of topics from the future of electrification to the evolution of the workplace.

John McElroy, host of Autoline, provided insights into the automotive industry’s change of pace to remain competitive in the 21st century but focused on the need for Michigan to step up and do its part.

The state of Michigan is facing an educational crisis with high rates of dropouts, absenteeism, and children who have fallen behind the curve. The downturn in educational attainment has in turn impacted the amount of skilled and educated talent that is available for Michigan’s workforce. In fact, in 2018 Amazon cited Detroit’s questionable ability to attract and retain young talent as part of the reason the city wasn’t chosen to host their North American headquarters.

McElroy suggests three solutions to fix the root of the educational issues:

  • Tutors
  • Counselors
  • Mentors

Notes McElroy, “The Detroit Regional Chamber with the Detroit Promise and the Detroit Promise Path are doing the right thing with Detroit students who want to go to college. Their programs includes things like coaches and could be a blueprint for how we move forward with K-12 students.”

On a federal level, McElroy suggests using government dollars to invest in things that will help the U.S. economy grow, prosper, and compete in the global economy, including the United States educational system.

“Educationally we are near the bottom and falling behind. Every year we condemn another generation to a lower standard of living. Every year our infrastructure grows a little bit older, and yet, we’ve got no plan to get back on track,” said McElroy. “We need to make this a part of the ongoing national debate, and Michigan needs to do it if it wants to keep the automotive industry.”

Automotive Tech Talk: BEV and Electrification Impact

Michael Robinet, executive director of IHS Markit Advisory, joined the State of Automobility presentation to discuss the future of electrification and battery electric vehicles.

The shift from internal combustion engines (ICE) to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) has become a global movement in the major markets like Europe, North America, and China, hosting 85% of BEV production. This has created a need for the Michigan automotive companies to become more BEV-focused.

“Vehicle manufacturers are focusing vast majority of capital and resources on electrification,” said Robinet. “It’s important for Michigan as we make the transition from an ICE to a more BEV focused area. The traditional OEMs are starting that electrification push in their home markets…but they will quickly expand in other parts of the world, like GM going to China.”

Automotive electrification, which started small with compact vehicles, has now begun to move to the luxury and performance side. Robinet notes that these high-end vehicles are critical moving forward to the mass market.

With the influx of BEVs comes a new economy of scale that will drive the consolidation of smaller automotive companies. Smaller manufacturers are going to find it harder to differentiate themselves.

“There is a new cadence the industry needs to adapt to,” said Robinet. “We need to start thinking in six-to-seven-year buckets.”

Automotive Tech Talk: Evolution of How We Will Work in the Future

Over the last 12-months the build of the average workplace has shifted dramatically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ali Caravella, partner at WRK/360 joined the conversation to discuss the need for companies in Michigan to adjust to changes and invest in their culture to move the workplace forward.

Currently, Michigan is in flux. Businesses have not returned to a pre-COVID-19 normal (and likely never will) but have also not fully established a new normal.

Instead, Caravella hints at a “next phase of work,” one characterized by a need for organizations to be more willing to invest in their culture and show genuine care for their employees in order to promote retention.

Three Tiers of Focus as Michigan moves into the new phase of work:

  • Organizations
  • Managers
  • Employees

“People and the policy and programs that surround them need to be front of mind,” said Caravella. “Employees are looking for employers to be more transparent, provide more flexibility, and genuinely care about them as whole people. It’s helpful to have an approach that is inclusive, actionable, and repeatable.”

Suggested process for navigating the next phase of work:

  • Culture and Values: Organizations must commit or recommit to their culture and values.
  • Experimentation: The new world we are in has new ways of working, and businesses must be willing to try new things.
  • Measurement and Assessment: Organizations must collect data and assess as they experiment.
  • Employee Feedback: Along with data, organizations must listen to employees and utilize direct feedback when assessing workplace culture.
  • Strategy Refinement: Use the data and feedback to refine the company policy and strategy.
  • Leadership Alignment: Leaders across the organization must be aligned on the strategy and mission.

The next phase of work is characterized by adaptability and evolution, the workplace must be humanized at a time when employees need it more than ever.

Adds McElroy, “It’s going to be companies who invest in their culture that are going to be able to retain their employees.”

Automotive Tech Talk: The People Equation

Marc Siry, vice president of Strategic Development for Comcast Business, joined the Automotive Tech Talks to discuss the evolution of connectivity and its connection to the automotive industry.

Leading in mobility will take participation from everyone throughout the local and business communities. On a community level, electrification requires changes to the way energy is managed and delivered. At Comcast Business, they have focused on contributing to connectivity, including the human connection that technology directly empowers.

“Hand in hand with electrification comes autonomy,” said Siry, and Comcast is pushing that narrative as they work to electrify their entire fleet of tech vans to help round out a smart city strategy.

However, the connectivity evolution doesn’t always come easy. It takes a lot of planning on a community level to make sure all of these changes’ benefits everyone.

“The tech revolution has had many benefits but one downside has been the creation of a digital divide,” noted Siry. “At Comcast we have been addressing the digital divide for a decade now with our internet essentials program which provides low-cost internet to deserving residents, as well as, content to help with digital literacy and skills-based training.”

In Case You Missed SOA 2021: CEO Coalition for Change

During the 2021, State of Automobility virtual presentation, Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto, and Cheryl Thompson, chief executive officer and founder of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement (CADIA) sat down with Lisa Lunsford, chief executive officer and founder of Global Strategic Supply Solutions (GS3) and chair of the MICHauto Board of Directors for a conversation about the newly formed CEO Coalition for Change.

CADIA, in partnership with Stevens and the MICHauto team, Lunsford, and CEOs from 10 automotive companies developed the CEO Coalition for Change to address the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the automotive industry.

The Coalition, which started as a group of 12, launched in January and has since gained the attention of six more CEOs.

“The leadership of these organizations together is a difference-maker,” said Stevens. “Twelve founding members, now expanding, they’re the ones leading it.”

CADIA which was founded in 2018, initially focused on diverse talent on an individual-by-individual basis, but in 2019, started working with people who were championing diversity, equity, and inclusion across the industry.

“I just see us expanding, you know, all sectors within automotive. So right now, it’s very heavily focused on manufacturers. But I really would love to see us get into other sectors within automotive. The retail side – they’re closest to the customer,” said Thompson. “The beauty is the CEOs, you are the people with the levers, and you can influence change, and systemic change, that’s really, really important.”

Adds Lunsford, “One of the things I see in five years is being where we are not having this conversation, where it becomes more innate. I want to make sure what I feel inside becomes a part of the fabric of GS3.”

MICHauto Letter to State Workgroup Urges Safe Reopening of Offices

On March 24, MICHauto Executive Director, Glenn Stevens Jr., sent a letter to Sean Egan, the deputy director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, who is overseeing Gov. Whitmer’s Return-to-Office Workgroup, regarding the safe return to offices. MICHauto collected industry insight and feedback from automotive businesses throughout the state of Michigan on the importance of safely resuming in-person work. Current Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) emergency restrictions on in-person office work end on April 15.  The Workgroup is tasked with making recommendations to the governor on how those rules should be amended.

The current rules require employers to develop policies related to workers who are in-person and those who work from home, with guidance to remote work where possible. This has limited critical in-person interaction for the automotive industry, which relies on engineers, designers, and program managers collaborating for innovation. The automotive industry has been a leader for the state of Michigan in fighting the pandemic and restarting our economy. The “Safe to Work” playbooks and the #MaskUpMichigan campaign exemplify the seriousness with which the industry has taken employee and public health from the very beginning. Manufacturing reopened on May 11, 2020, and has stayed open since. The overwhelming perspective of MICHauto investors is that businesses need to be to responsibly return to the office.

View the official letter below or download it here

MICHauto supports JAMA’s First Michigan FAME Chapter Launch

Earlier this week, Bill Rayl, President of the Jackson Area Manufacturing Association (JAMA), kicked off the initial MI FAME JAMA Chapter founders meeting. FAME is the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, which is an umbrella for several training programs centered around Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) courses. Rayl started with a special thanks to Glenn Stevens Jr. and the MICHauto team for making the introductions and taking the initial steps towards getting this important work underway. This new chapter is a result of hard work, careful planning, and collaboration among JAMA, Toyota, FAME, MICHauto, and several stakeholders across the industry and academia.

As Michigan continues to face a shortage of skilled trades and middle-skill workforce in our signature automobility industry, the FAME program is an innovative solution to enhance advanced manufacturing skills. The AMT program develops global-best, entry-level multiskilled maintenance technicians through a specific academic foundation, deep integration of core manufacturing competencies, and on-site, intentional work/train experience for two years.

JAMA’s Michigan Apprenticeship Expansion Grant Award will be a contributing factor in expanding youth apprenticeships (age 16-24) in the region with funding available directly to employers for incentives and cost reimbursement beginning in April 2021. The first AMT Cohort class is scheduled to begin in August 2021 as additional employer and college partners engage over the next quarter.

For more information or to get involved in the first Michigan FAME chapter, contact Bill Rayl at

Exclusive Data Reveal and Auto Tech Talks: What’s on the Agenda for the 2021 State of Automobility

As the State’s only automotive cluster association, MICHauto is known for convening top industry leaders, innovators, and stakeholders to address challenges and celebrate progress. The 2021 State of Automobility event is no exception and will provide a timely update on MICHauto’s plans for the upcoming year, offer insight on the future of the automotive and mobility industry, and explore areas where stakeholders can work together to improve and create opportunities.

During this virtual gathering, MICHauto also will reveal the Mobility Contribution Report, which will outline the mobility industry’s economic contribution to the state. Attendees will be among the first to see this exclusive data and hear from a host of industry experts what the future of automotive and mobility look like. The mobility industry, as defined by the production and distribution of goods and services that support any movement of people and products, is important to Michigan because it creates solutions to congestion, emissions, safety, and equity. Identifying the industry’s impact on Michigan’s economy will enable us to better understand and harness the potential the industry has to solve these issues.

2021 State of Automobility Sponsors

Data Highlight: Automotive’s $225B Economic Contribution and Defining the Mobility Industry’s Impact

In August 2019, MICHauto released the Automotive Economic Contribution Study, conducted by Public Sector Consultants, that revealed the contribution of the automotive industry to Michigan’s economy. The study found that the automotive industry contributes a total of $225 billion to the state’s economy, 83% of which is directly attributed to automotive manufacturing. In addition, Michigan’s automotive industry directly employs nearly 291,000 workers statewide, which supports an additional 422,000 indirect jobs, totaling more than 712,000 jobs. Public Sector Consultants used a narrow definition of the automotive industry in the analysis, focusing on the automotive-related sectors, including motor vehicle manufacturing, automotive vehicle, and parts dealers and wholesalers, and automotive repair and maintenance.

With Michigan’s evolving and expanding mobility industry, made up of the automotive industry as well as tech-focused companies and last-mile solution developers and manufacturers, MICHauto initiated a more detailed study to determine the mobility industry’s contribution to Michigan’s economy. The mobility industry, as defined by the production and distribution of goods and services that support any movement of people and products, is important to Michigan because it creates solutions to congestion, emissions, safety, and equity. Identifying the mobility industry’s impact on Michigan’s economy will enable us to better understand and harness the potential the industry has to solve these issues.

The Mobility Economic Contribution study will be released at the State of Automobility event on March 24, 2021. Click here to register.