The Detroit News reports today on a new study by the Anderson Economic Group, a consulting firm in East Lansing, Michigan, that gauges the financial impact of the University Research Corridor (URC), a consortium of Michigan’s three largest universities on the state: Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University.
The report details a favorable and growing economic impact of the URC, particularly in the field of advanced manufacturing, which the authors define as those sectors with greater than average productivity, with productivity growth faster than the U.S. average, making high-tech products, or producing processes or solutions for future manufacturing.
With this definition, the study found by 2007 (the last year data are available) more than 380,000 Michigan workers, or more than 10 percent, of Michigan’s workforce, engaged in advanced manufacturing. Because they could command higher wages, advanced manufacturing workers pulled in a $24 billion payroll, or 16 percent of state’s total in 2007.
The pay for advanced manufacturing workers in Michigan also grew faster than other workers in the state. Between 2003 and 2007, averages wages grew 12.6 percent for this workforce, compared to 10.5 percent for Michigan’s workers overall.
The URC, the study found, plays a key role in the development of advanced manufacturing in Michigan. In the 2009 fiscal year, research awards for advanced manufacturing came to nearly $425 million, with the schools themselves spending $102 million on R&D supporting advanced manufacturing. The study found 20 cases between 2004 and 2008 where research in advanced manufacturing on the campuses lead directly to the formation of new companies. The report estimated that in the 2008 fiscal year, Michigan’s residents overall were $14.5 billion richer because of the URC’s operations.