Economy

Economy
12:02 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

500 million cars and counting: GM reinvests in Delta, other U.S. plants

GM CEO Mary Barra (right) and Chevrolet's Alan Batey (left) presented veteran Trent Brining with the keys to a 2016 Malibu to celebrate the automaker's 500-millionth vehicle.
Credit Courtesy © General Motors

General Motors has been around for 106 years, and they’ve built a lot of vehicles. In fact, that number has recently surpassed 500-million. Half a billion Chevys, Cadillacs, and, of course, Lansing-built Oldsmobiles, and others. It's an amazing number. That’s far more than any other car company.

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Economy
11:30 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Does Michigan need an economic “grand bargain?”

Last week, the organization Business Leaders for Michigan gathered in Lansing for one of its periodic Leadership Summits. The group’s mission is advance strategies to make Michigan a top ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. According to Detroit Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh, those in attendance which included the CEOs, Chairpersons and Senior Executive of Michigan’s largest companies and Universities, spent a good deal of time lamenting the lack of a cohesive economic growth agenda for the state.

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Economy
11:31 am
Tue March 10, 2015

SXSW to showcase Michigan’s creative economy

Tens of thousands of music and movie fans will descend on Austin, Texas next week for the South by Southwest festival. The festival’s line up features a number of Michigan musicians, but they won’t be the only ones representing the Mitten state. Joining them will be a team from the arts advocacy group Creative Many, formerly ArtServe.

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Economy
12:21 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

MI utilities prepare for expected energy shortage

Credit WKAR File Photo

Later this month, Governor Rick Snyder is expected to deliver a special message outlining Michigan’s energy production goals. The Michigan Public Service Commission says the state will experience an energy shortfall as soon as next year, largely due to the planned retirement of nine coal-fired power plants in Michigan in the coming years.

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Economy
12:45 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers keep commerce flowing

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Neah Bay (WTGB-105) at port in Algonac, Michigan. The boat was built in 1979. It's one of several icebreakers that operate each winter on the Great Lakes.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Winter is still holding a firm grasp on Michigan and much of the country. In a state surrounded by fresh water, it’s imperative that the Great Lakes and the rivers which feed them are kept open for commerce. That’s the job of the United States Coast Guard, which operates several icebreaking ships on the lakes.

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Economy
12:57 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Lansing region pursues more particle acceleration businesses for Lansing

Economic developers often refer to Michigan State University’s FRIB as a “game changer.” The $730-million nuclear science facility, set to launch in around six years with around 400 employees, will be the most powerful rare isotope research site in the world. It will explore the physics of atomic nuclei, with potential applications in medicine, defense and other areas. But what other economic impacts might stem from FRIB and from Niowave, another established particle acceleration firm based in Lansing?

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Economy
12:24 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Advocates say economic recovery leaves too many MI children behind

Michigan takes a lot of pride in its nickname as the “comeback” state. And after taking a beating during the Great Recession, Michigan is indeed on the upswing. Forecasts say the state should continue to see economic growth and improvements to the unemployment rate in the next two years. But not everyone is feeling the impact of that recovery yet. Among those left behind are the nearly 550,000 Michigan children living in poverty.

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Economy
12:16 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

MI rail supporter responds to MDOT "debacle"

Credit http://www.semcog.org/

Commuter rail plans in southeast Michigan are drawing fire from state legislators and other officials. The criticism stems from millions of dollars being spent on unused rail cars. Those rail cars await completion of projects between Ann Arbor and Detroit and between Ann Arbor and Howell. The Detroit Free Press, reporting on what it describes as “a $12-million debacle”, says the costs are to lease and refurbish 23 used rail cars MDOT acquired from a Chicago rail  system.

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Business
11:29 am
Mon February 2, 2015

East Lansing tops college football towns

Credit Photo: Melissa Benmark / WKAR

This post-Super Bowl Monday gives the New England Patriots NFL bragging rights for the coming year. But who’s number one in the combined professional and college football world? According to the personal finance-social media network WalletHub, it’s East Lansing.

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Community
11:47 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Volunteers brave cold to connect with Lansing's homeless

Dozens of people led by the Volunteers of America in Lansing scoured the streets early Thursday morning to seek out the homeless and guide them to shelter.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Dozens of volunteers have wrapped up an evening out in the cold on the streets of Lansing. Last night, the Volunteers of America in Lansing conducted its annual Point in Time Count, which tracks the homeless in our community.

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Business
11:47 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Startup Grind Lansing aims to give entrepreneurs a boost

Michael Labriola of Digital Primates is Startup Grind Lansing's first speaker this week.
Credit http://www.digitalprimates.net/

A national organization designed to inspire and educate entrepreneurs is coming to Lansing. It’s called Startup Grind. The Lansing Startup Grind will hold its first meeting on Thursday night. Startup Grind was formed in 2010 and has grown to 150 cities in 65 countries.

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Business
11:35 am
Tue January 20, 2015

New Buick convertible, concept car shown off at Detroit Auto Show

The Buick Cascada is on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Credit WKAR/Peter Whorf

What’s made in Poland and is named after the Spanish word for waterfall? It’s the newest convertible from Buick, the Cascada, unveiled this week at the Detroit Auto Show. The North American International Auto Show is in full swing at Detroit’s Cobo Center this week. Current  State will bring you all the latest these next few days in our NAIAS series.

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Economy
11:42 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Lansing gets $6-million to fight blight

Ingham County Land Bank executive director Jeff Burdick stands outside a severely blighted vacant home on Lansing's east side. The city of Lansing is using a $6-million federal grant to eliminate blight and help stabilize property values.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Now that we’re into the new year, you might be thinking ”I’m ready to give myself a makeover.” It’s not just people who have that impulse. Entire communities plan what they’ll look like in the future, and that often means getting rid of outdated eyesores. That’s a polite description of what cities large and small deal constantly deal with: urban blight. The city of Lansing has recently received a federal grant to eliminate blighted properties.

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Economy
11:34 am
Thu January 8, 2015

MSU students and local non-profit partner on energy efficiency

Credit WKAR Photo

After a mild Christmas, the new year is bringing more wintry conditions to mid-Michigan. The arctic chill makes heating our homes and offices a high priority in our lives. This month, an East Lansing non-profit is launching a pilot program to help dozens of people stay warm this winter and cool next summer.

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Economy
11:40 am
Wed January 7, 2015

2015 job openings reflect changing MI economy

Carsten Hohnke of the MEDC (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

A closely-watched study predicts the creation of about 60,000 new jobs in Michigan this year.  That’s from the University of Michigan’s annual economic forecast, released recently. But only about 10-percent of those new jobs are expected to come from manufacturing, historically one of Michigan’s strongest job sectors, including here in Greater Lansing. So where are the new jobs coming from, and what trends are creating them?

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Economy
10:58 am
Tue December 23, 2014

On ice storm anniversary, BWL chairman calls for more vigorous oversight

Steve Reed of the Lansing State Journal (center) and Lansing Board of Water and Light Chairman David Price (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit WKAR/Bill Richards

This year’s Christmas holiday is bringing back unpleasant memories of last year’s intense ice storm and power outages. One year ago to the day, thousands of people in the Lansing area were without electricity because of hundreds of downed, ice-coated trees that disconnected lines.  Many residents spent days, some more than a week, without power, often at significant expense. The episode amounted to an embarassing right of passage for the capital city’s municipally-owned utility, the Lansing Board of Water and Light.

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Economy
11:31 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Detroit preps for 2015 Auto Show

The Lansing-built 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Car buffs are revving up for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. More than 800,000 people attended the show at the Cobo Center last January.

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Politics & Government
11:18 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Breaking down Michigan's competing road funding plans

The clock is counting down on the lame duck legislature at the state Capitol. Tomorrow is the last full day of the session. Lawmakers are facing a hard deadline to reach a deal to raise more than a billion dollars each year in new revenue to fix Michigan’s deteriorating roads.

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Economy
11:35 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Auto analyst: pay hikes front and center for UAW

New contract bargaining between the United Auto Workers union and American automakers is scheduled for next year. Recently, we’ve been getting a clearer picture of the union’s priorities. UAW President Dennis Williams has indicated members want to eliminate a recently introduced  feature of the autoworker landscape:  “two-tier” wages and benefits.

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Economy
11:12 am
Mon December 8, 2014

MI retailers push for sales tax fairness

Many online retailers, like Amazon, don't collect the state sales tax from customers in Michigan.
Credit Flickr - Carl Malamud

Last week we learned that e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday 2014 topped $2-billion. That’s up more than 15-percent over last year. Big box giant Walmart and online powerhouse Amazon saw sizeable surges in their bottom lines. But the reports are not welcome news for everyone, including traditional brick and mortar retailers in Michigan.

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Economy
12:02 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Pilot program seeks permanent housing for Lansing's homeless

Rebecca Porter (left) was homeless for most of the past year. She is working with case worker Amanda Fleckenstein (right) and others at Volunteers of America Michigan to move into permanent housing. She hopes to be in her new home by Christmas.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Michigan’s long winter months can give anyone the blues, but it’s an especially dangerous time for the homeless. Hundreds of people in mid-Michigan live on the streets, and their circumstances are diverse. In Lansing, officials are so far pleased with the results of a pilot program to move 11 people out of a makeshift camp and into permanent housing.

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Economy
11:52 am
Thu November 20, 2014

MI manufacturing industry seeks to close skills gap

Credit www.camw.org/

The Lansing area, like much of Michigan, has been shaped by manufacturing. But the industry has taken a beating in the past 13 years. The state has lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs since 2001. After years of cuts, though, the industry is starting to make a comeback here in mid-Michigan.

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Economy
11:45 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Cadillac unveils Lansing-built ATS-V at LA Auto Show

Cadillac's new ATS-V will be built at the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant.
Credit Courtesy © General Motors

Cadillac has unveiled the next model that General Motors will build in Lansing. GM is showing off the new ATS-V at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

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Economy
10:57 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Advocates say homelessness shouldn't be a crime

Eric Hufnagel is executive director of the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness
Credit http://mihomeless.org/

A group of pastors and volunteers for a local non-profit in Ft. Lauderdale are facing jail time and hundreds of dollars in fine after a run-in with police last week. Their crime? Passing out food to the homeless in a city park. Advocates for the homeless says these kinds of ordinances are part of a larger trend of cities criminalizing the activities of homeless people. Here in Michigan, a number of cities have ordinances restricting vagrancy and panhandling.

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Economy
11:45 am
Wed November 12, 2014

In Flint, it takes a village to raze a house

This burned-out house on Parkbelt Drive in Flint was torn down yesterday with funding from a crowdsourcing effort.
Credit Courtesy Parkbelt Drive residents

Back in August, we brought you the story of an online fundraising effort aimed at bringing in enough money to pay for the demolition of a single burned-out house in Flint. Gordon Young is a Flint expat and author of “Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City”. His idea was simple: while Flint has hundreds of abandoned homes, and some neighborhoods suffer mightily from such blight, he wanted to find a house that needed tearing down in an otherwise well maintained neighborhood, one where the demolition would improve the neighborhood’s chances of thriving into the future.

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Economy
11:01 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Planners eye faster Detroit-Chicago rail service

Passenger rail service between Detroit and Chicago could become much faster in the future under a plan being considered by officials in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.
Credit Flickr - Bernt Rostad

Last week, the Michigan Department of Transportation along with Indiana and Illinois presented a proposal for passenger rail improvements on the Detroit to Chicago line. When running on time, the "Wolverine Line" takes riders from the Motor City to the Windy City in about five and a half hours. New plans hope to cut travel time considerably, and increase ridership significantly.

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Economy
11:04 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Planners seek public input on Lansing region's transportation future

What are the Lansing area’s future transportation needs? Three times this week, that’s been the topic of public forums in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties. The Tri County Regional Planning Commission is holding a fourth forum this evening in Lansing.

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Economy
11:43 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Lansing affordable housing advocates unveil five-year plan

Credit glhc.org

Federal officials consider housing “affordable” when it costs less than 30-percent of its residents’ income. By that measure, affordable housing is outside the reach of more than 60,000 families in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As of this morning, there’s a new game plan for to increase quality, affordable housing in the Lansing area.

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Economy
11:44 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Ingham home auction offers look at local housing economy

The housing market in Michigan is much healthier today than it was four years ago.  Foreclosure rates have been declining in that time, though there was a slight uptick in filings in July.

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Economy
12:58 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

LEAP official: City holds companies accountable with development agreements

Dorshimer says most competition over corporate location occurs between regions of the state and regions of the country rather than between municipalities.
Credit Courtesy - Lansing Economic Development Corporation

Today we look at how economic incentives are used in the Lansing area. There is fierce competition out there among cities and communities, not just in Michigan but across the country, to attract new businesses that will bring jobs and economic growth. This competition often gives companies the upper-hand when asking for tax abatements and other incentives from local taxpayers. But just how much should Lansing give up in tax revenue for, say, 1000 new jobs? And once that deal is made, how are the numbers tracked to see if, indeed, those new jobs have materialized? What are the consequences if they don’t?

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