Young, Educated and Leaving Michigan

January 22, 2014
Michigan's New Motto: "Buh-Bye."

Michigan’s New Motto: “Buh-Bye.”


The editorial board at the Detroit News just can’t stop congratulating Gov. Rick Snyder on how not-so-bad things are here in Michigan. In a overwhelmingly moderate editorial, the newspaper congratulated Snyder on the boatloads of somewhat good news coming in about Michigan’s economy.

The piece, which was titled “Michigan Throws Out the Welcome Mat,” should have been been titled “Michigan Economy Seems Ready to Crawl Out of Toilet.” Why? Because in its haste to tout Snyder’s achievements, the News can provide scant evidence to show any improvement. It opens brightly, “Michigan is shifting from a state that once led the country in unemployment and population loss to a place where …”

A good writer would have stopped right there and said, “where … where we still have lots of unemployment and not a lot of population growth? That’s preposterous. Let’s write about something else.”

Not the solons of the Detroit News editorial board. After cheerleading for the sort of low-tax, anti-union measures Snyder has signed into law, the Newsistas have to at least try to argue we’re experiencing a Great Leap Forward that justifies them in hindsight.

Hey, some people are trying to find work, and even a few are actually getting jobs! “For the second consecutive year, Michigan has experienced population growth.” Now that’s an achievement. The state didn’t shrink! Will this new era of milk and honey never cease?

Studies suggest that, increasingly, Michigan's leaders look sort of like this to young, educated people.

Studies suggest that, increasingly, Michigan’s leaders look sort of like this to Michigan’s young, educated people.

One thing they’re not mentioning is that there is one cohort that remains on its way out of the state: educated young Michiganders. New data from Michigan’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives shows that young, educated people, a demographic closely linked to economic performance, are still leaving the state of Michigan, apparently unimpressed by what the state has to offer them. Ryan J. Gimarc, an economic analyst at the bureau, tells us that, in 2012, for the eighth year in a row, Michigan suffered a net loss of young, college-educated people. Apparently, Snyder’s Promised Land of low taxes for the rich and tough love for everybody else simply doesn’t hold a lot of appeal for young people.

But even if they don’t mention this “brain drain,” Snyder and the News have a plan to stem any outmigration: expanding the H1B visa program. Now, we don’t have anything against immigrants, of course. Heck, immigrants, documented and undocumented, bring more economic energy to the country, and we should be doing everything we can to ensure more immigrants reinvigorate our fading urban communities. No, our objection to the H1B visa is this: In 2012, “the 10 employers receiving the largest number of H-1B visas were all in the business of outsourcing and offshoring high-tech American jobs.”

Immigrants create jobs ... except when they're on H-1B visas... so, hey, let's expand that program!

Immigrants create jobs … except when they’re on H-1B visas… so, hey, let’s expand that program!

Hey, that sounds great. You’ve got to admit, under Gov. Snyder, things are at least clear-cut: The kids get to take their education and leave, the immigrants get to visit and take our jobs with them, working people get the shaft, and the rich get all the money and tax breaks.

No wonder the News can’t stop praising him, even if the grounds for doing so seem a little meager.




  • Gina Fournier

    Please consider blaming union teachers for this predicament, too, along with other unions. What if unions made 1964 a great year to be alive in this state, but also largely induced the downfalls in years after? Weren’t people expecting the old good times to last forever, despite repeated evidence to the contrary? Didn’t we the people fail to get smart and change? Union teachers wouldn’t likely inform students of this perspective, especially those still standing in line until death do they part with tax payer support, meaning those in charge still holding a pension promise to protect. Make no mistake. The promise of pension trumps all other concerns, which is why the teachers unions get away with saying silly things like collective bargaining is needed to help students in the classroom, when the two are distinctly separate concerns (a teacher’s pay and a student’s experience). I am a tree hugging liberal, but my experiences as a tenured MEA English teacher at Oakland Community College, at the Royal Oak/Southfield campus, between 2005 and March 11, 2013, when I was forced to quit for voicing thoughts such as these, have me convinced that unions equal mediocrity and ultimately “un-cool” cities, without major universities or public transportation (in very short form). It wasn’t Granholm’s fault that Michigan is not a go-to place, and its not Snyder’s either.

  • Gina Fournier

    At Oakland Community College, 100% of union teachers are well to do working in an old school union shop in rich Oakland County. Unfortunately, most teachers at the large multi campus tax payer supported institution are not full timers in the union, are paid very poorly for teaching the same exact classes, and the success rate for students is far below that of union teachers. Usually, about half or more of students are not expected to complete community college courses in which they enroll. How does this model for dividing resources help young people stay in Oakland County?

  • Gina Fournier

    While I’m at it (and thanks): an Oakland County judge has issued subpoenas for four Oakland Community College employees, regarding the witch hunt that decimated my career and life. William MacQueen, head hatchet man in HR, bully union teachers Eric Abbey
    (who lied under other in September 2013) and Suzanne Labadie, and top corrupt cop, Terry McCauley, have all been ordered to appear in court regarding their misdeeds. Please check out my Mitten State nightmare on Facebook and Youtube. Look for my upcoming video telling the whole crazy story. My bizarre tale speaks for larger problems that negatively affect students and taxpayers. SOS. And thanks again.

  • Jason Fuller

    Statistics show that the number of people moving to Michigan is balanced with the number of people leaving. There may be a subset of “young educated” people leaving but there is also a subset of “experienced professionals” moving to Michigan. And what is better for the economy, a kid staying in Michigan who more than likely is moving back with their parents or a professional moving his family to Michigan and buy a house. This article has no point except to give the author something to write on a Wednesday.

  • NYCnimby

    It is kind of funny that this article is about young educated people…who are the kind of people that a can see through a partisan charade when they see one.

    This article sounds more like an anti-republican rant than anything else. We get it, you don’t like Gov. Snyder, or republicans for that matter. It is unfortunate that someone who doesn’t know any better might read this and walk away misinformed.

    The reality is that most (not all) of the young educated people who move away from Michigan are not doing it because of the economy. They are doing it because they are sick of the cold, they want to live in a specific area, or work for a specific company, etc. If the winters were not so bad, I would move back to Michigan and I know for a fact that I am not alone. Now if a politician replaced Snyder with plans of increasing taxes for the top earners and increasing the general reliance on Govt, then I would scratch Michigan off my list in an instant. Funny how that works.

  • Mitch W.

    FYI, Michael Jackman — The entire basis of your article is inaccurate. You’re criticizing a plan to create more H-1B visas, which isn’t what the governor proposed at all. He’s calling for employment-based visas (EB-2, EB-5), which are entirely different than H-1B visas.

    EB visas are given to individuals with specific skill sets who will become permanent residents. H-1 visas go through employers, giving temporary residence.

  • Greg LaLiberte

    Michigan comprises people who know they are on a sinking ship, but want to stay on the top deck as long as possible.

  • Greg LaLiberte

    Michigan is finished. all life, progress and freedom is south of the Mason Dixon and west of the Mississippi. Southern and Western states are good.