Rick Haglund

Rick Haglund

Rick Haglund writes the "Micheconomy" column for the Michigan Advance. He's a former reporter and business columnist for Booth Newspapers, now the MLive Media Group, with extensive experience covering Michigan’s economy and the auto industry. He now works as a freelance writer based in Southeast Michigan.


Rick Haglund: Decline of wages, jobs and Detroit Three market share fuel UAW strike

By: - September 21, 2023

As President Barack Obama’s “car czar” in 2009, Steven Rattner played a crucial role in saving the collapsing domestic auto industry. Rattner, a former journalist and investment banker, engineered the sale of a flat-broke Chrysler to Italian automaker Fiat and fired General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, who resisted putting GM into bankruptcy.  Those moves, combined […]


Rick Haglund: Transition to electric vehicles at the heart of UAW’s tough contract demands

By: - August 21, 2023

There’s less than a month before labor contracts between the UAW and Detroit automakers expire, and the two sides appear destined for a head-on collision. Bargaining has become unusually acrimonious as UAW President Shawn Fain is using hardball tactics not seen since firebrand Stephen Yokich led the union nearly 30 years ago. Last month, Fain […]


Rick Haglund: Want to interest more young people in auto jobs? Don’t call them auto industry jobs.

By: - August 6, 2023

Michigan is striving to become the nation’s leader in the development and manufacturing of electric and self-driving vehicles, maintaining the state’s long-held distinction of being one of the world’s premier auto capitals. But there’s a problem, and it’s a big one: Many of the state’s future workers don’t want to be a part of it. […]


Rick Haglund: Post-bankruptcy Detroit needs to get smarter. U of M and MSU are ready to help.

By: - July 24, 2023

Updated, 7:23 a.m., 7/26/23 Media outlets across the country are assessing Detroit’s progress as the city marked the 10-year anniversary of filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history on Tuesday. The results, not surprisingly, are mixed. Detroit’s finances have stabilized and many basic services have been restored. Billions of dollars of development projects have […]


Rick Haglund: Who will win the race to electrification — Detroit automakers or their competitors?

By: - June 27, 2023

We knew, or should have known, that the transition from gasoline to electricity-fueled vehicles was going to be bumpier than driving down a pothole-strewn Michigan road. The internal combustion engine has powered cars and trucks for more than a century. Shifting to a new power source is the biggest personal mobility transition since the automobile […]


Rick Haglund: Michigan’s economy is strengthening as the state tackles population decline

By: - June 4, 2023

After struggling for more than three years with a deadly COVID pandemic that broke supply chains and made workers fearful of returning to work, Michigan’s economy has shifted to a higher gear. “Michigan’s economy is moving,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement about the state’s near-record-low 3.8% April unemployment rate. That matched the state’s […]


Rick Haglund: Time is running out to address Michigan’s population, prosperity decline

By: - May 23, 2023

Updated, 10:46 a.m. 5/23/23 Beginning a column with a cliché is considered a sign of unimaginative writing. But the old tale of the boiled frog almost perfectly describes Michigan’s demographic and economic plight. It’s said that if you drop a frog in a pan of boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But if you […]


Rick Haglund: Michigan Republicans show hostility to China after courting companies for years

By: - April 22, 2023

There are hundreds of Chinese companies employing tens of thousands of workers in Michigan, partially a result of aggressive efforts by Republican leaders over the past decade to bring them here. GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder led a record eight trade missions to China during his eight years as governor. His last trip, a weeklong […]


Rick Haglund: Will the new UAW president’s tough talk translate to wins at the bargaining table?

By: - April 10, 2023

When newly elected United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said Detroit automakers and other multibillion-dollar companies were the union’s “one and only true enemy,” my mind flashed backed to one of his combative predecessors: the late Stephen Yokich. Yokich, who led the UAW from 1994 to 2002, was a brash, tough-talking labor leader who didn’t […]


Rick Haglund: Whitmer says ‘bigotry is bad for business.’ Is it true?

By: - March 27, 2023

It was a clever phrase designed to grab headlines, and it did. “Bigotry is bad for business,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in her January State of the State speech, imploring lawmakers to add anti-discrimination protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights law. They ultimately obliged and Whitmer signed the […]


Rick Haglund: Michigan’s state budget is flush with cash. Is it sustainable?

By: - March 14, 2023

For decades, sluggish tax revenue and difficult funding decisions defined Michigan’s state government budgeting process. Yes, total revenue went up every year. But it wasn’t nearly enough to keep up with inflation and address growing spending needs for roads, education, payments to local governments and other responsibilities of state government. Oddly enough, the COVID pandemic […]


Rick Haglund: More education funding is a good start to boost Michigan’s economic competitiveness

By: - February 27, 2023

Thirty years ago, then-Gov. John Engler used to say that the best-educated state wins. Michigan has not been winning. It ranks among the bottom 10 states in high school completion. Nearly half of Michigan’s 2022 high school graduates were not enrolled in college six months after graduating. Fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores plunged in national […]