Michigan’s problem

With the turmoil surrounding the economic conditions in Michigan, it would seem the state government would be more concerned with trying to retain its college graduates.

The phenomenon known as the “brain drain” refers to the fact that students receive a college degree in one state, but then move to and work in another. Michigan is in the bottom 20 percent in the nation in terms of the number of people moving in compared to the number of people moving out.

According to the Bureau Labor of Statistics, Michigan ranked 49th nationally with a 12.8 percent unemployment rate as of the end of October 2010. In October 2009, Michigan’s unemployment rate was 14.4 percent and still one of the three worst states statistically.

The fact is all of us will be looking to begin our careers within the next few years and these statistics should be scary. According to the Bureau Labor of Statistics, Michigan lost approximately 791,000 private-sector jobs between March 2000 and March 2010.

Michigan is still reeling after the economic recession and will be for months, even years to come. Many jobs have been sent to other countries and other states.

Who can blame students for taking jobs in other states when the state of Michigan fails to generate quality career opportunities? The fact that Michigan has one of the highest small business taxes in the country certainly does not entice students to start their own businesses here.

What is the state doing to prevent students from leaving and is there anything students can do to combat this problem? Many people want to leave Michigan for reasons other than lack of jobs, and those people will likely leave regardless of the economic climate here.

For those graduates who wish to stay in Michigan upon graduation, all you can do is network and apply to companies within the industry you are interested in. Until more local, desirable jobs are created, Michigan will continue to lose talented graduates to other states and no one can blame you for leaving. n