Michigan Top Industries, Companies and Employers

Michigan Economy and Michigan Jobs

Renaissance Center, Detroit
Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com

Not too long ago, the buzz words associated with the Motor City included bailout and bankruptcy, and the future look bleak for both the Detroit and Michigan Economy. These days, however, the future may be looking up. According to the folks at Economic Modeling Specialists International, Michigan had the fastest improving economy in the nation from the third quarter of 2009 through the first quarter of 2012.

So how is that possible?

Diversity of Michigan Industries

One of the reasons Michigan seemed to enjoy a fast turn around compared to other states is that several Michigan industries exist beyond just the auto industry. For example, Michigan's life science industry has existed since the 1800s, when Park-Davis opened in Detroit and Upjohn in Kalamazoo.

Fortune 500 List: Michigan Companies

While it is true that General Motors (#7) and Ford (#10) ranked the highest of Michigan companies on the list of the 2013 Fortune 500 companies, 17 other Michigan companies also made the list (as posted by CNN Money):

  • Dow Chemical (#52)
  • Whirlpool (#154)
  • TRW Automotive Holdings (#173)
  • Lear (#187)
  • Kellogg (#192)
  • Penske Automotive Group (#203)
  • Ally Financial (#221)
  • DTE Energy (#299)
  • Stryker (#305)
  • Autoliv (#317)
  • Masco (#336)
  • Borg Warner (#358)
  • Visteon (#359)
  • CMS Energy (#406)
  • Auto-Owners Insurance (#443)
  • Con-way (#450)
  • Kelly Services (#462)

Michigan Growth Industries 

Despite the failings of Detroit's auto industry in recent decades, the state still benefits from the legacy of the Motor City's golden era. In addition to over 1500 manufacturing facilities, the highest number of engineers per capita, and a history of innovation, Michigan has several universities that are recognized nationally for their research, engineering and tech programs. Additionally, the state is home to 370 research and development tech centers, the most of any state in the nation.

According to Pure Michigan, this manufacturing and knowledge base helped set the stage for the growth of several Michigan industries, including:

  • Technology (According to Pure Michigan, Detroit is the hottest place in the nation for tech jobs)
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Alternative Energy
  • Life Sciences
  • Defense/Homeland Security

Detroit Auto Industry

While Michigan industries are diversifying, don't count the Detroit auto industry out yet –- it did manage to stage a come back over the last couple of years. In fact, according to a publication produced by the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, GM, Ford and Chrysler topped the list of employers for Detroit jobs in 2010.

Top Employers for Detroit Jobs

Despite the prominence of the GM, Ford and Chrysler on the list of top employers for Detroit jobs, the rest of the companies on the list fall into the education, government and healthcare sectors. In fact, according to an Economic Modeling Specialists International, Detroit jobs in the service sector outnumber Detroit jobs in the production sector, almost three to one.

Top Employers for Michigan Jobs

Looking at the state as a whole, a few auto-related companies made the list of Top Employers for Michigan Jobs but did not dominate it. In fact, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor ranked number one for Michigan jobs, and most of the other top employers in the state fell into the healthcare industry. There are, however, a few other notable companies on the list that provide Michigan jobs, including Delphi Thermal Systems in Troy, Amway Products Distributor in Ada, and Full Gospel Christian Center in Benton Harbor.

Although the auto industry no longer dominates the Michigan economy as it once did, it is important to note that the success of the Detroit auto industry drives the creation of jobs in other parts of the Michigan economy. In fact, according to Economic Modeling Specialists International, every auto-manufacturing job drives the creation of five more jobs elsewhere in the Michigan economy.


/ Pure Michigan