economy

The Consumer Electronics Show, an annual display of the world's most fantastical gadgets, starts tomorrow in Las Vegas.

Traditionally, the show has been devoted to gizmos that belong in your house or your hand: video game systems, televisions, home appliances, cell phones, and so on. Michigan’s largest manufacturing and engineering firms – the auto-makers and their suppliers – haven’t had much to contribute.

But with the growing role of technology in the automotive industry, particularly as it relates to mobility, Michigan companies are taking a bigger role at the CES.

 

In a little over two months, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes is digging into what that could mean for our auto industry.

The "FOR SALE" sign is out on a building on Cass Avenue in Midtown Detroit. And that sign represents the end of an era.

The building houses the Big Book Store, which is one of the very last independent bookstores left in Metro Detroit.

After 80 years, the store's owner, John King, has decided to close it down. There's just not enough business to justify keeping doors open.

And that means big changes are looming for the store's manager: Bill Foulkes has worked at the Big Book Store since the 1970s.

 

What happens to a picturesque city when its charms draw more and more people who want to live or work there, and when the push for new housing threatens the very thing that made that city so special?

Traverse City is wrestling with these questions right now, including the lack of affordable housing.

Last week the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx made the rounds through the news outlets, excitedly talking about new guidelines for autonomous cars.

But Foxx admitted there's a lot not covered in the guidelines because there's a lot the auto industry and the government have yet to figure out.

NPR’s Sonari Glinton joined us today to talk about the secretary’s comments, and the ongoing push toward autonomous vehicles.

Any parent can tell you that child care is one of the biggest challenges a family can face. A new report finds that Michigan can do better in helping families who need day care. A LOT better. 

Michigan's missed out on tens of millions of federal dollars that could help more parents and kids access quality child care. In fact, if state lawmakers don't commit another $7.5 million to child care by the end of this month, Michigan will lose $20.5 million in matching federal funds.

The National Labor Relations Board has done a complete about-face. 

The Board recently voted three to one that graduate students who work as teaching or research assistants at private universities are indeed employees, and they have a right to collective bargaining. 

That ruling overturns a 2004 Bush-era ruling that took those bargaining rights away. 

Why mess with success?

That seems to be the philosophy of a venerable Flint company as it marks its 100th anniversary this year.

Koegel Meats still makes its products the same way it always has, with the same ingredients as it did on the first day. Koegel’s has also stuck with Flint, its original home base, through good times and bad.

Kids across Michigan got packed off to school today, which marks the end of the summer tourism season.

As we start to say goodbye to summer, we wondered how Michigan's travel industry fared this year.

A new report on the fiscal health of local governments in Michigan raised the question of whether those governments feel the steam running out of the recovery from the Great Recession.

The Michigan Public Policy Survey was performed by the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

CLOSUP administrator Tom Ivacko joined us today to talk about their most recent findings. 

The Next Idea

Take an abandoned, unloved alley. 

Clear away the trash and debris, and then turn artists loose with their paint and brushes to transform those alleys and, in turn, the neighborhood.

Jason Ostro did just that.

The Michigan-born artist cleaned up the area around his Los Angeles art gallery, the Gabba Gallery.

The Gabba Alley Project L4 is four decaying alleys transformed into works of art.

Now he's launched the Gabba Alley Project Detroit, recently painting his first mural in an alley in Detroit's Midtown.

A Lansing-based video game company is putting the final touches on a video game that got a big helping hand from a Michigan State University computer science expert. 

The game is called Tuebor, which means "I will defend" in Latin.

Scott Reschke has been laboring over this game for years, so it's a big moment to see this work come to fruition.

General Motors earnings are up by 157%. They made $2.87 billion in the second quarter of this year.

This is up from $1.1 billion last year.

“General Motors continues to be on a roll,” said Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Howes said CEO Mary Barra is now trying to convince the investment community General Motors is an “earning machine.”

German automaker Volkswagen has been handed an expensive lesson: don't mess with the EPA, and don't mess up our air. 

The U.S. Government has given Volkswagen a historic $14.7 billion spanking. 

The Next Idea

Hundreds of leaders have descended upon Mackinac Island for the Mackinac Policy Conference this week. Their aim is to explore solutions to Michigan’s problems, and education across the state has been a big talking point.

One of those leaders is Doug Rothwell, CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.

The flood of headlines coming out of the water crisis in Flint comes down to a basic problem: The city was starved for cash. And that led to the series of bad decisions that in turn led to the catastrophe of lead-poisoned water. 

But Flint isn’t the only city caught in a cash crunch. All across the state cities are starved for cash. Most of them not because of something the city has done, but because of things the state has done.

The state’s revenues are going to be lower than expected this year. Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team, discuss why that is, and what it means for the state’s hot-button issues.

Pluta said the economy is recovering, but not as quickly as anticipated.

“And so what we’re seeing is, in particular, corporate income tax and state sales tax revenues are coming in less than expected,” he said.

This is happening as “some big new demands are being made on the state,” Pluta said, those being infrastructure issues and Detroit Public Schools deficits.

The Next Idea

“I would love to see a renaissance in innovation here in the state of Michigan”

 

What's in a name? How does it affect the course, or even the length of your life?

That question drove Michigan State University economist Lisa D. Cook to dig into three million death certificates in four states from 1802 to 1970.

And that led to some intriguing findings, especially about the names of black men.

The Next Idea

The list of people who have lost out in our state is too long for this space. The people of Flint, students in Detroit, even the Detroit Lions, all have been beaten by forces beyond their control.

The Marquette area recently received some painful news when Lourenco Goncalves, the CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources announced that the Empire Mine would be closing by the end of the year. More than 400 workers from the region are affected by the announcement that iron ore production, that has been a big part of the area’s economy for a long time, will end.

How many times have you said this while you’ve been on vacation?

“I wish we could just live here all the time.”

As it turns out, among the thousands who have visited Traverse City over the last couple decades, many of them have said that. And followed through and made that wish come true. It’s becoming more than the National Cherry Festival and a fun place to spend a long weekend in the summer.

Mark Masters of TDM Realtors in Flint says it's hard to keep tenants and even harder to attract new ones.

"I mean one of the first questions I get, it used to be 'is that a good neighborhood' and now it’s 'is that Flint water,'" said Masters.

Last spring he started getting calls from some of the company’s 300 renters that something wasn’t right with their water.

For generations, the idea of the American Dream has fueled dreams, aspirations and accomplishments.Work hard and build a better life. Get ahead. And watch your children climb even farther up the ladder of success.

A recent NBC News online poll found that 57% of Americans believe the American Dream is dead.

Charles Ballard, Michigan State University economist, talks about what it means for the way we plan, spend, and work.

Pages