Can Michigan’s auto industry overcome a talent drain? 

Michigan is at the heart of the US auto industry. In 2022, it was responsible for 21% of all US auto production, according to a report by the Detroit Regional Chamber (DRC). The report also highlighted the central role automotive plays to the state’s economy, contributing US$304bn for the same year, as well as US$61bn in global exports.  

The state hosts one-fifth of all US manufacturing jobs: 166,800 as of 2022. For contrast, the next largest vehicle manufacturing states—Indiana and Ohio—employed around 108,000 and 86,000, respectively. US$451m (17%) of the state’s higher education R&D is dedicated to auto engineering. Despite this, Michigan’s signature industry faces an existential threat from skills shortages. “It’s happening right now, and it may not dissipate any time soon,” warns Glenn Stevens, Executive Director at the state’s auto industry advocacy association MICHauto. 

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