NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

States Battle For Employees

June 10, 1997

Consider it one more sign of economic boom times: Michigan and Ohio are fighting one another to lure workers across state lines.

  • With only 4.4 percent unemployment (its lowest in 30 years), Michigan has launched a $50,000 ad campaign in Ohio and other northern states to attract skilled workers ranging from engineers and computer analysts to construction workers.
  • The state says that jobs paying $50,000 to $100,000 a year are going begging, and one company laments that it has about 1,000 openings.
  • While total employment in Michigan has increased by 784,000 over the past ten years, auto-related employment has actually declined by 50,000 jobs -- leaving Detroit's unemployment rate at 7.8 percent, much higher than more affluent surrounding areas.
  • Ohio is countering by spending over $20,000 to lure workers, rather than businesses.

Some of Michigan's ads are pitched at the thousands of workers who fled the state in the early 1980s when unemployment skyrocketed past 15 percent.

Employers in both Michigan and Ohio are reportedly raising salaries and expanding benefits such as health-club memberships and retirement plan contributions.

Source: Rebecca Blumenstein, "Wanted: Employees in Michigan and Ohio," Wall Street Journal, June 10, 1997.


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