Michigan Must Pay to Play

Manufacturing workers in Michigan earn $14,000 a year more than the rest of the nation, according to Dr. Stephen Forrest, an entrepreneur and vice president of research at the University of Michigan.

Still, members of the UAW launched a strike against GM yesterday in search of fair compensation, benefits and, ironically, job security. The move is perhaps the clearest indication yet that a significant portion of the Michigan workforce is aging and anchored to the obsolete business models of a past generation. It's telling how a vast majority of the people walking the picket lines appear to be 50- and 60-years-old.

Young knowledge workers, by sharp contrast, widely regarded as the future of the state's economy, earn approximately $7,000 less than their counterparts across the nation, according to Dr. Forrest. These are the people in growing economic sectors like biotech, finance, design, and alternative energy. And civic leaders in Michigan wonder why the talent base is compelled to graduate college and leave the state for opportunities in Chicago, Portland, or San Francisco.