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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The "New Economy" Moves to Michigan

There could scarcely be a more graphic representation of economic realignment in America than Google announcing the addition of up to 1,000 new jobs in a new facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Although the auto industry is hardly on its knees, the jobs picture is certainly less certain than it once was. Some fortunes have risen, others have fallen. Some say the Michigan economy is looking downright bleak, so Google's announcement is timely.

It hits a rather personal nerve (in a good way) for me. My family owns a cottage on the other side of the lake, near Bayfield, Ontario. It's a bit over 3 hours from Detroit, so many Michigan residents make second homes there. Good careers and a low Canadian dollar had made that possible for many working people. You'd also run into the odd family whose patriarch had done something cool like invent the windshield wiper. :)

The folks are selling the cottage, so I had a good last look at the sandy beach on the Ontario side. While those with good money are now coming over from Michigan and building bigger, bolder beachfront homes, it seems many regular working people can no longer afford even the less expensive property in the area given the declining job pitcture and rising Canadian dollar. I can't think of a better shot in the arm for Michigan than to have so many high-tech jobs coming available. (On the Ontario side, several new auto plants and auto parts plants have been announced. Oh well!)

It's too bad my gang's moving out of there. It might have been interesting to watch the "Michiganians who call themselves Googlers" poking around the area. It might have made for some interesting random encounters on local golf courses, and even the opportunity to talk about AdWords over rhubarb pie.

Search marketing chatter, interspersed with church suppers in Goderich? Stranger things have happened. Hey, that's been my life for the past few years. :)

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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