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.