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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

Building on our strength

(Data, Census, Maps, Regionalism) Permanent link

There are two schools of thought when it comes to making progress – developing your strength or overcoming your weakness. I believe it is far more effective in developing strength than overcoming weakness, not only for personal or organizational growth but also for economic development.


What are the economic strengths of our region? Here is one of them: We are Number One in terms of engineers per capita among ALL large metropolitan areas in the United States! Yes, we rank higher than Boston, San Jose, or any other metro area. For whom do those engineers work? Obviously a lot of them work for the automotive industry or the related industries in our region. A few years back when the domestic auto industry was experiencing near-death restructuring, I heard people arguing that it’d be better to have no auto industry than having a sick auto industry. I wonder if they still think that way after the remarkable turnaround of the industry in the last few years.


Building on our strength to renew our economy is one key message from SEMCOG’s newly adopted 2040 Forecast. When we think about the auto industry, it is not only about manufacturing jobs, which are likely to fall in the long term due to continued increasing productivity. It is also about all the knowledge-based jobs, including those engineering and other professional jobs, which are the hope of our future economy. It is very true that we need to continuously diversify our economy. But in the process of renewal, we need to maintain a strong presence in our key industry and build from our existing strength. Don’t try to be somebody else. Leverage our own strength for a better future.


I will be covering additional messages from our 2040 Forecast in the following weeks. Meanwhile, we continue to add information about our past and future on SEMCOG's Regional Forecast Web page.


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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