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MI Poised for Manufacturing Revival?

February 26, 2008

Lansing, MI – Michigan has the tools, the people, and the expertise to cash in on a manufacturing revival led by the renewable energy sector. That's the message of a new campaign to encourage the U.S. not to give up on the manufacturing industry.

Susan Helper with the National Bureau of Economic Research says the industry is worth saving because it provides better-than-average wage jobs and brings big cash to the state. Taking a closer look at companies' accounting books shows they aren't seeing big savings by moving jobs overseas, she contends.

"We also have opportunities. We have a lot of skilled workers. We have increasing demand for sustainable products. We can bring these things together."

George Sterzinger with the Renewable Energy Policy Project says reviving Michigan manufacturing to become a player in the renewable energy industry would bring long-term economic development.

"The wind turbine industry right now is roughly where the automobile industry was in 1920. There is an enormous avenue for improvement in almost every aspect of these technologies."

Helper says the emerging renewable energy industry needs equipment, and Michigan already has the types of factories that can make wind-power towers and other renewable energy products. She adds that the state has a role to play in helping coordinate the revival, and is already taking the first steps in trying to recruit wind turbine manufacturing.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MI