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: Why fixing the damn roads is so damn hard

By: - August 2, 2019

How in the world are we ever going to fix the damn roads? Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature policy prescription — boosting the gas tax by 45 cents a gallon to raise $2.5 billion to repair roads and bridges — is going nowhere in the Legislature. Meanwhile, Republicans who control the House and Senate are […]


Rick Haglund: Steering students into skilled trades alone won’t rebuild Michigan’s middle class

By: - July 21, 2019

For decades, Michigan policymakers have focused on attracting more high school students into skilled trades and other plentiful good-paying jobs that don’t require four-year degrees.  Every governor since John Engler has pushed the notion that Michigan can rebuild a middle class decimated from the loss of auto assembly and other manufacturing jobs by growing “middle-skill” […]


Rick Haglund: Michigan’s finances are still reeling from recession, outdated tax code

By: - June 22, 2019

Much has been made of Michigan’s “lost decade”— the period between 2001 and 2010 in which Michigan shed jobs every year. But Michigan and most other states are dealing with a second “lost decade,” this one involving state government finances. A new report by The Pew Charitable Trusts found the states are still struggling to […]


Rick Haglund: Below the surface, Michigan’s economy has serious flaws

By: - June 8, 2019

Let’s start with some good news: Michigan has the 13th best economy in the country, far surpassing the performance of surrounding Great Lakes states, according to a new report. The study released Monday by online financial service WalletHub found Michigan leads Wisconsin (23rd), Indiana (28th), Illinois (33rd) and Ohio (36th), based on 28 key indicators. […]


Rick Haglund: U.S. automakers aren’t toasting Trump’s tariffs

By: - May 25, 2019

If you were around in the 1950s and 1960s, you didn’t see many foreign-made cars on U.S. roads, especially in Michigan. You might have spotted the occasional MG, Triumph or other British sports cars brought back by servicemen returning from World War II. And, of course, there were hundreds of thousands of Volkswagen Beetles driven […]


Rick Haglund: Michigan is running out of workers. That’s bad news for the economy.

By: - April 27, 2019

Michigan has largely focused on boosting educational attainment and vocational skills to meet employers’ current and future workforce needs. But there’s a bigger issue threatening the state’s economic vitality: we’re running out of people to train, educate and fill new jobs. Michigan’s working-age population is forecast to grow by just 87,700 people between 2015 and […]


Rick Haglund: Republicans hit Whitmer by playing up urban vs. rural divide

By: - April 13, 2019

Republican lawmakers who are dealing with a Democratic governor for the first time in eight years have already hatched a strategy to take back the seat: Claim at every turn that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is a city slicker who favors urban interests over the needs of the state’s rural population. My initial snarky reaction was […]


Rick Haglund: No evidence that Whitmer’s business tax hike will hurt jobs

By: - March 30, 2019

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed a 6-percent income tax on small businesses in early March, business lobbying groups and Republican lawmakers slammed it faster than you can say “lost decade.” The Michigan Chamber of Commerce called the proposed tax “alarming” and “a disaster for small business owners and jobs.” The Small Business Association of Michigan […]


Rick Haglund: Michigan’s auto industry faces historic changes

By: - March 17, 2019

Who needs economic diversification? We’re the auto state, baby! That’s essentially the message Michigan has been sending to the world in the past decade since Detroit’s automakers roared back from their near collapse. Amplifying the message was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ stunning announcement in February that it intends to invest $4.5 billion to build a new […]


Rick Haglund: Amazon vs. everybody and Michigan’s place in tax break wars

By: - February 24, 2019

Good-government types are hailing the breakup of online retail giant Amazon and New York City as a long-awaited reckoning of the outrageous subsidies offered by states and communities looking to attract new employers. Amazon, as you might have read between stories about President Trump playing golf during a supposed national emergency and Princess Meghan Markle’s […]


Rick Haglund: Biz groups fighting Whitmer’s environmental agenda fail to see big economic picture

By: - February 15, 2019

Republican leaders in the Legislature have pledged to work cooperatively with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on solving the tough issues facing the state. But apparently that spirit of collaboration doesn’t apply when she does something they don’t like. GOP lawmakers and business lobbying groups are incensed with Whitmer over a recent executive order she issued […]


Rick Haglund: Whitmer’s economic strategy focuses on people over corporations

By: - February 3, 2019

Business leaders and local economic developers have publicly urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to stay the course set by her predecessor, former Gov. Rick Snyder, in building on the state’s economic momentum. It’s easy to see why. Under Snyder, Michigan’s jobless rate plunged 7 percentage points, from 11 percent in January 2011 to 4 percent in […]