Am I dooming my future by staying in Michigan?


macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 9, 2007
Near Detroit, Michigan.
Michigan's economy has been one of the worst of all 50 states during the past few years. As many of you know, we *were* the world's largest producer of automobiles during the last 100 years. We are home to GM, Ford, Chrysler and some of the largest auto suppliers. Thinking back just a few years ago, everyone here worked directly or indirectly for the American auto industry. My father, my grand father, my neighbors, all my friend's fathers, and all the males in my family that lived in Michigan worked for the car industry. (South Eastern) Michigan was in a way like those rural mining towns back in the day, everyone worked in one industry, and you always thought you would grow up to do the same.

I love cars, until a few years ago I loved the fact I lived in the middle of it all. While driving to class I would usually see an unreleased prototype (m-plate) car almost everyday! Cars would always be the topic of conversation with my family, my friends, and the random guy that sat next to me in class. Of course Detroit has been a dump since before I was born, but once you are out of wayne county, the rest of southeast Michigan (including oakland county) was a thriving area with a strong middle class (and a strong upper class).

Fast forward to present day (2007) and its a very different story. My dad was let go from a GM supplier a few years ago, but has managed to get a job working for his friend's trucking company. The Ford Wixom Assembly Plant (very close to house) just closed its doors, and many (including my neighbor) were let go as the replacement vehicles were moved to Hermosillo, Mexico. Job cuts are endless in Michigan, and almost everyone that I knew that once worked for the US auto industry, from the UAW factory worker, to the white collar manager, is now unemployed. Many were able to find jobs in other industries or they simply left the state to look for bigger and brighter things. The downfall of the US auto industry has crippled Michigan's economy, even a large local grocery store chain has gone bankrupt as the states economy is in ruins. The housing market here is one of the worst in the country, you can't sell your home if you wanted to.

Governor Jennifer Granholm has tried hard to attract other industries to the state (something that is needed and will take a very long time), and successfully got Google to open an office in Ann Arbor (close to U of M). Everyone blames her for the state's problems, but sadly I firmly believe there is nothing the state government can do to turn around the economy in the short term as it is tied to much to the auto industry. I've had many of my close friends leave the state looking for opportunity in other states. We have good Universities here, but the college tuition keeps going up. MSU might be raising their's by 17%.

I know many people that live in Michigan are still doing great (I'm actually doing fairly well right now), but its got to be hard for them not to notice what is happening here. I do web design for local (automotive based) small-mid sized businesses (and a larger one you may have heard of), but they are hurting so badly that I'm afraid I may be out of work soon. I do not blame the Japanese, the UAW, or anyone else with lame excuses that people around here have come up with to explain why we are doing so badly. The bad management of the American auto industry is at fault. period. In the long run playing the blame game doesn't solve this state's problems so its not even worth thinking about. I am still a college student and highly considering studying abroad to get away from this place. I have a long life ahead of me and moving to another state is a serious option, so my question to everyone else is: am I dooming my future by staying in Michigan?


macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
Washington D.C
Doom it? No.....not if your skilled. If you can offer a company something, you'll find a job.

Making it harder? Most likely...


macrumors Core
Mar 17, 2005
London, England
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A469a Safari/419.3)
Sorry about that, its almost 2:30 in the morning and I was in a hurry to post that and disregarded paragraphs. I started editing it right after I posted, but you replied too quickly! :p
:eek: no worries. It is much easier to read now though, thanks for that.

To answer your question, I think your gut instinct (which sounds to be telling you to leg it out of there) might be right. You are lucky in that you work more indirectly with the car industry and I imagine there's a lot more opportunity for you outside of that area.

No need to make a huge step and study abroad, make a smaller leap and go to school elsewhere and start from there.

Just my two pennies.


macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2002
This is a difficult question to answer for you, especially since Michigan's economy was roaring along in the '90's. I guess you need to ask yourself some important questions before moving:

1. Do you still like living in Michigan?
2. If no, where do you want to move to?
3. If yes, can you afford to live on what you make? Are you satisified with your income?
4. If you move, will you miss your family?
5. Is your job secure (or, are you going to lose it anytime soon?)
6. If you have kids, are you satisfied with their education?

Personally, I like Michigan. We just need to get away from relying on the big three for everything. I think Granholm is trying, but both her and the legislature is playing politics too much to really be effective.


macrumors 68030
Mar 31, 2004
A geographical oddity
I'd wait until you are close to graduation before making any decision. I'm not sure how far along you are, but it may be that the economy begins to turn around by the time you are done. As much as it pains me to say it (some of your alums are irritating), UM is a pretty good school and your education will follow you.

One question I have is about you. What alternatives do you see to the auto industry? I don't think Ford/GM/whatever-becomes-of-Chrysler are going to disappear anytime soon, but if you can envision alternatives, I would suggest staying - even if it easier for me to say rather than do. MI is going to need some folks to help rebuild the economy, and I think like any other venture capital, the payoff - if it pays - will be pretty good. But, we don't know your family situation, so you may have to balance their needs with your own wants.

Good luck.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 14, 2005
Chicago, IL
I love Michigan. we've got a lake house on the west coast in mom's husband grew up in the G-Rap...My aunt and uncle live just outside of Detroit.

At any rate, aren't living in New Orleans. I spend several weeks a year there for vacation, and their economy and state is in ruins. It's got lots of history, but NOLA is a ****-hole right now.


macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2007
To Stay Or Not To Stay

ambience- I hear where you are coming from, I live in Lansing and going to college, studying education. There are no teaching jobs right now and just about every school district in the state is facing budget cuts,which = no new jobs. I'm hoping when I'm done in 3 years that enough baby boomers are retired, so I can have a job.

Right now here in Lansing they are tearing down 3 old plants, and the old Oldsmobile HQ....:( ,Olds put us on the map pretty much. The brand new plant which just became fully operational in April already dropped their 3rd shift so all those people are out of jobs...again, most of them were from the plants they are tearing down.

It all depends on what your situation is, If you don't like Mich., try someplace else, but if you have a job and don't want to leave it, I say stay. Soon enough(hopefully) GM and Ford will get it that they need to produce more fuel efficent cars and focus on alt. fuel, (i.e. E85, battery, hydrogen, etc.)

I say.... ya gotta do what you gotta do. Good luck man.


macrumors 68000
Apr 7, 2003
If your only reason for studying abroad is to get away from Michigan, then it's sort of pointless. However, if you have a longstanding desire to live abroad, then I would seriously consider it. Broadening your horizons is always a good thing.

Since you've always lived in Michigan, the only perspective you have of the state is as an insider. We live in a global economy and I'm sure many of the companies you work for do business in some way, shape or form outside of the US. By moving abroad to study, not only would you gain a different perspective on Michigan but you would also gain some knowledge about the world. Which is increasingly valuable in today's marketplace.

Maybe by living abroad you'll learn that Michigan is where you want to be and that's fine, but you'll never know that until you leave.

It's a lot easier to explore now when you're young. Don't waste any opportunities that might come your way.