NAR Region VI Local Market Assessments: Michigan and Ohio
Michigan's central location, shared border with Canada, global gateway shipping access, and reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse all help to make the state a national leader in attracting inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) and the jobs that come with it. Michigan's foreign-owned companies operate in thousands of locations throughout the state.
As the birthplace of the auto industry, Michigan is building on its rich manufacturing heritage and technological know-how to develop innovative, high-tech products of the future. In doing so, it is diversifying its economy and focusing on developing sectors such as aerospace, alternative energies, medical device technology, engineering design and development, and next-generation transportation—including autonomous vehicle and mobility testing infrastructure.
Helping to support all this business is a growing and thriving immigrant community. Nearly 700,000 immigrants call Michigan home and represent $20.3 billion in household spending power. Immigrants also play an outsized role as business owners, especially among small, independent businesses.
Ohio has been a melting pot for the foreign-born for centuries. Immigrant workers played a key role in initially establishing Ohio as one of the manufacturing capitals of the Midwest—and still do. Upon arriving in the U.S., they establish new homes in various ethnic neighborhoods of the great Ohio cities. Waves of immigration, including some from surprising places, have washed upon these cities, ever changing the face of Ohio.
What has changed over the centuries is the expanded role that immigrants play in Ohio society. International corporations now own some of the largest manufacturing facilities in the state and are among Ohio's largest employers. Immigrants still come to Ohio for opportunities, with many operating their own companies. The American Immigration Council reports that 5% of self-employed business owners in Ohio are immigrants.
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