Welcome to SEMCOG's Think Regional/Act Local blog! SEMCOG is the only organization in Southeast Michigan that brings together all governments to solve regional challenges and enhance the quality of life for the seven-county regions 4.7 million residents. With this regional perspective in mind, we work with member local governments to sustain our regions reputation as a great place to work, play, and do business.


Our panel of SEMCOG staff bloggers will post daily to this blog, discussing SEMCOG's data, federal and state legislative issues, and environmental and fiscal sustainability best practices for local governments all with the goal of creating a successful future for the region.



Think Regional/Act Local

Good start, long way to go

(Census, Data) Permanent link

Yesterday (May 30, 2012), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the latest unemployment numbers. The Detroit region posted the nation's largest unemployment rate decrease in April compared with the same time a year ago. The unemployment rate in the region fell from 11.1 percent in April 2011 to 8.7 percent this April.


Unemployment Rates, 2000-2012, Southeast Michigan and U.S.



The trend of unemployment rate changes is shown in the above chart. Unemployment in Southeast Michigan rose with the advent of the last decade’s first recession in 2001. While the nation recovered from that recession, Southeast Michigan did not. Continued restructuring of the domestic auto industry kept the unemployment rate around seven percent. With the 2008-2009 recession and the automotive bankruptcies, Southeast Michigan’s unemployment rate skyrocketed to 15.9 percent – much higher than the U.S. average of 10.2 percent in 2009. Since then, the unemployment rate in Southeast Michigan has been falling at a faster pace than the U.S. average.


While the unemployment rate drop is a welcoming sign for our region’s economic recovery, there is a long way to go to where we need to be. First, the jobless rate decrease has been largely due to the reduction in the labor force, meaning that many working-age people moved out or stopped looking for jobs. Second, it will take time for the benefit of the jobless rate decrease to trickle down to the economic well-being of a lot of people. The impact of the decade-long recession on the region’s population is no more evident than in the decline of wealth. The region experienced approximately a $16,000 decline (or 25 percent) in median household income and more than a $6,000 decline (or 20 percent) in per capita income from 2000 to 2010. Southeast Michigan residents have much less money to support themselves, their families, and a region in need of crucial public service and infrastructure improvements. That is a reason why we say we should keep a “balanced optimism.”


Xuan Liu
Interested in knowing how SEMCOG’s data impacts local governments and residents in Southeast Michigan? Then, you’ll want to read Xuan’s weekly posts.

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Don’t forget the marketing…

(Best Practice, Public outreach, Regionalism) Permanent link

Today, Macomb County premiered its new campaign and Web site, Make Macomb Your Home. Congrats to the county for realizing that marketing the county is not a “nice to do,” but a “must do.”


As I visit Web sites and social media sites from our communities around the region, marketing the community still feels like a “nice to do,” but that is changing. The City of St. Clair Shores recognizes this with their use of Facebook. They have over 8,000 followers of their page.


I would encourage you to jump on board the marketing train.


At the same time, let’s make sure our marketing strategies link.


For example, Macomb County includes the importance of the Blue Economy in their marketing of the county. How is the Blue Economy marketed by other local communities? In some cases, can we have consistent messaging across the region for the Blue Economy? That’s one area SEMCOG is researching in the development of our Green Infrastructure Vision for Southeast Michigan.
Stay tuned. There’s strength in numbers. Marketing our Blue Economy is just one example.


Amy Mangus
You can leverage your SEMCOG membership to help your local government become more sustainable and effective. Amy’s posts will focus on SEMCOG’s member services.

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