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: Absence of viable regional transportation continues to hurt SE Michigan

By: - June 10, 2021

I recently traveled to an appointment in Dearborn, about 20 miles from my home in Oakland County. Good thing I own a car.  The trip took about 30 minutes. But traveling to my destination and back home by bus would have required a mile-long walk to the nearest bus stop, multiple bus transfers and gobbled […]


Rick Haglund: COVID relief cash could help Michigan stop ‘treading water’

By: - May 23, 2021

Michigan’s economic development strategy over the past 50 years mostly has focused on cutting business taxes and offering companies a variety of financial incentives to expand or locate here. It hasn’t worked. Forty years ago, Michigan was in the top third of states in per-capita income and slightly above overall U.S. income. Today we’re in […]

Rick Haglund: Can woke capitalism and big business coexist?

By: - May 3, 2021

Seven years ago, I wrote a column that carried this headline: “Democrats and big business, you have more in common than you think.” At the time, major Michigan corporations were better aligned with state Democratic lawmakers on a number of issues than they were with Republicans who controlled every branch of state government. Those issues […]


Column: Right to Work has failed to live up to conservative hype

By: - April 13, 2021

Nearly a decade ago — Dec. 11, 2012, to be exact — then-Gov. Rick Snyder landed a savage right hook to Michigan’s vaunted labor movement when he signed contentious Right to Work legislation. Hours before Snyder signed bills that outlawed requiring workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment, 12,000 pro-union demonstrators descended […]


Rick Haglund: Can Biden help reignite the labor movement?

By: - March 27, 2021

President Joe Biden has promised to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” And Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber couldn’t be happier. Bieber said he was stunned by a remarkable White House YouTube video in which Biden, without naming the company, strongly warned giant online retailer Amazon not to interfere with a union organizing […]


Rick Haglund: Offices may open again soon, but work will never be the same

By: - March 13, 2021

A coalition of powerful business lobbying groups is pushing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to allow offices to reopen, citing a variety of harms to workers, employers and communities from people doing their jobs at dining room tables during the pandemic. They’re likely to get their wish soon. Whitmer said Monday she hopes to allow workers to […]


Rick Haglund: Companies recognize the value of diversity. Chatfield found that out the hard way.

By: - February 27, 2021

Lee Chatfield did more to advance the cause of diversity, inclusion and equity in Michigan workplaces in the past two weeks than he did in six years as a state lawmaker. Chatfield resigned Monday as CEO of Southwest Michigan First, a Kalamazoo-based economic development agency, as controversy raged over his anti-LGBTQ record.  The former GOP […]


Rick Haglund: GM’s road to the future of electric vehicles could be bumpy

By: - February 13, 2021

Brett Smith has long thrown shade on automakers’ predictions about how soon Americans will be driving cars and trucks powered by something other than fossil fuels. “For 20 years I’ve been a realist,” said Smith, technology director at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. “Some say I’m a pessimist. But we’ve been right […]


Rick Haglund: Can rural economies be saved?

By: - January 30, 2021

As part of her $5.6 billion COVID-19 recovery plan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced she was creating an Office of Rural Development to tackle the lack of broadband internet, talent, public infrastructure and other deficiencies in struggling rural communities. In Washington, President Joe Biden is being urged to appoint a rural czar who would lead […]


Rick Haglund: Building fairer local economies is one tool to blunt right-wing extremism

By: - January 16, 2021

Over the past several months, I’ve read articles in which the authors asserted that economic decline in small towns and old industrial cities has fueled nativism, populism and nostalgia for the past — the hallmarks of Trumpism. This is said to be especially true in Michigan and other upper Midwest communities that have lost thousands […]


Rick Haglund: Are some Republicans gearing up for a tax incentive fight next year?

By: - December 12, 2020

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve been writing about the business tax incentives controversy since the start of my journalism career 45 years ago. I accept your condolences in advance. One of the early stories I covered in my first job at a northern Michigan weekly newspaper was a request by the […]


Rick Haglund: Restoring Michigan’s economy will require more federal COVID-19 relief

By: - November 27, 2020

President Donald Trump whined during an Oct. 27 campaign rally in Lansing that there was too much television news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 260,000 Americans—more than double the population of Michigan’s capital city. “It’s COVID, COVID, COVID. You can’t watch anything else,” Trump said. “On Nov. 4, you won’t […]