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Bay County 29th in Knowledge Economy Index, 3rd in Digital Economy

MSU Rankings Put Midland County 12th, Saginaw 32nd, Tuscola 41st

August 18, 2004       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Bay County's highest ranking in the Knowledge Economy rankings is in Digital Economy.

      Bay County is near the top third of Michigan counties in the Michigan Knowledge Economy Index, according to a report just out from Michigan State University.

      The report lays out a series of strategic actions communities must pursue to enhance their competitive advantage in creating and retaining jobs in the globally competitive knowledge economy:

  • Establish a shared vision;      
  • Continuously develop your workforce;      
  • Analyze your current strengths and capacities;      
  • Support creativity and entrepreneurship;      
  • Provide access to capital;      
  • Develop and maintain infrastructure;      
  • Promote quality of life.

          Out of 83 Michigan counties, Bay finished third in digital economy, 12th in venture capital, 13th in globalization (production for export) and information technology jobs, 20th in innovation capacity, 24th in knowledge jobs, 25th in bioscience jobs, 26th in high tech jobs, 32nd in professional/managerial jobs, 36th in patents, 39th in engineers, and 43rd in workforce education.

          Midland was first in both patents and bioscience jobs, 3rd in professional/managerial jobs, 5th in engineers and 6th in workforce education. Saginaw was fourth in information technology jobs, 8th in digital economy and tied with Huron and Tuscola for 12th in venture capital. Tuscola was a surprising 10th in patents and 12th in economic dynamism.

          The Digital Economy ranking is calculated as the average of a county's rank for three indicators: internet use, digital government and cable modem access.

          "New technologies facilitate the increasing rapid communication of ideas and exchange of information," states the report. "Economic development relies on effective uses of such technology by citizens, governments and businesses."

          The most distressing statistic is that Bay County was ranked 83rd in economic dynamism. The MSU Knowledge Economy Research Team of the Community and Economic Development Program defined economic dynamism as the average of a county's rank for three indicators: employment change in manufacturing, service sector and sole proprietorship. Clare County had the highest average rank, followed by Lake and Crawford counties.

          "In an environment marked by rapid changes, adaptation to a changing environment is crucial," the MSU team states, concluding: "Such adaptation is often evidenced by 'churn' in the workforce, as new jobs replace old jobs in the economy, and new enterprises form and aging enterprises transform themselves."

          The report states that the average knowledge economy wage is approximately $61,000 per year, while the average wage in Michigan for all occupations is just over $37,000 per year. Knowledge-based jobs earn approximately $25,000 per year more in wages.

          The report concludes: "A new set of tools to enhance and secure an improved quality of life, particularly for distressed communities, needs to be developed and implemented. We owe it to ourselves, and our posterity, to seek out these tools and apply them appropriately."###

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    Dave Rogers

    Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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