The latest economic news from around the region.
Plus Core Partner Updates and videos to share!
What makes up our economy?
By: Sam Bailey, NLEA/DTE Energy Foundation Graduate Intern ‘21
The precursor to economic development is the simple question: What makes up the economy? In order to do the work of economic development–attracting businesses, increasing average incomes, educating and training new workers, supporting community growth, and more–one must understand what industries make up a local economy in order to support, grow, and advocate for that locality.

Data shows the location quotient (LQ )for Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet Counties. LQ is a measure of how concentrated an industry is, calculated by putting the ratio of a single industry in the local economy over that industry in the national economy.

The fastest growing industry in Northern Michigan is Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing. The proliferation of breweries, distilleries, and wineries creates the additional opportunity to build up the sectors that support them: farming, distribution, marketing, and more.

Manufacturing as a whole, makes up a large portion of the four-county region. In both 2018 and 2019 there were more than 175 manufacturing firms in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet Counties which supported more than 5,000 jobs; it’s the third largest industry by employment in the region. Other top industries such as Accommodation; Food Services and Dining Places; Retail and Recreation Industries rely heavily on tourism which poses some challenges.

As community and business leaders discuss the county’s future, it is important to understand which industry sectors are a strength and which are a weakness in order to identify sectors with growth potential and those that need support.
Business support for Vets
Industry 4.0 launched for manufactuers
Industry 4.0
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) launched an
Industry 4.0 initiative to support small manufacturers.

Manufacturing is evolving at a fast pace. Digital technologies offer manufacturers solutions to workforce challenges, opportunities for increased productivity and will keep them globally competitive.

Michigan launched the industry 4.0 initiative to help small manufacturers be equipped with knowledge and resources to adopt industry 4.0 technologies. Two statewide resources are available through Automation Alley with an Industry 4.0 Leadership Evaluation and the Michigan Manufacturer Technology Center with a Technology Assessment.

As part of this initiative, small manufacturers will be identified to work with EGI to complete an in-depth financial analysis of the company, including a ratio analysis and company valuation. The analysis shows a firm's stability/strength and financial aptitude to handle and integrate new tech. This may be a direct way to address the workforce shortage (through efficiency gains) to reduce the number of positions manufacturers need to hire. Additionally, if they are able to gain significantly in the area of efficiency, they could grow their margins and be able to increase compensation to attract quality talent and or help their current and future employees and address housing affordability challenges.

For manufacturers who have financial stability and aptitude, EGI will conduct an operational analysis to further evaluate other areas of their business critical to tech integration.

Learn more by contacting Jennifer Deamud, Manufacturing Growth Alliance, 616-617-7467 or

This program is funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. See video below.
Moran Iron Works added some high-tech equipment in their line up. The CRX 10iA is the first COBOT placed in Michigan by Lincoln Electric. This is a robot unchained from a cell and Moran Iron Works believes it's the beginning of a new generation of technology in their industry. Moving the robotic cell to the welding project makes all the difference when they are dealing with huge structures that are impossible to place into a robot cell.

Cobots, or collaborative robots, are designed to share a workspace with humans, making automation easier than before by offering faster reaction time, more exact movement patterns, and orientation capabilities.

See Dave from Moran Iron Works training on the new system below.
Michigan Works! talks with students
MichiganWorks! students bus
Michigan Works! Youth staff presented to Wolverine High School’s senior art class of 21 students. Michigan Works! services, the WIOA Youth Program, and the JMG program were discussed. After the event, many students have reached out to get enrolled in the programs. The staff also presented to the Posen senior class (18 students), the Indian River Senior English Class (15 students); and to 31 Fairview High School juniors and seniors.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving from NLEA
We have a lot to be thankful for. The staff at NLEA wishes all of our partners and fellow economic builders a happy Thanksgiving season. Our office will be closed November 25-26 in honor of the holiday.
Videos you will want to share
Video, video, video! To motivate and educate. Share yours with us! If you have one or see something inspirational, send it our way. We'd love to pass it on!
Learn about the resources available for Michigan manufacturers.
Char-Em ISD shares its theme "Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child." 
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