The success of the reinvention of Michigan can be found in two words: Comeback State.
That's what people call Michigan today, in the third year of our effort to bring a new, customer-friendly approach to government and to provide a favorable business climate that creates more and better jobs. We're also reshaping the state's culture to focus on achieving results by working together and using what I call "relentless positive action."
This reinvention is producing impressive results. Its economy is at a 10-year high and is the sixth-fastest-growing economy in the country. We've added 267,000 private sector jobs since our low point in 2009, when the unemployment rate hit 14.2 percent. The bulk of those jobs—182,000—have been created in the past two-and-a-half years. The result is that the state's unemployment rate has been cut by 40 percent, to 8.4 percent.
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Creating a business-friendly tax and regulatory environment is at the core of the reinvention of Michigan. We're using an approach that levels the playing field and promotes free market solutions, rather than having the government pick winners and losers.
Our emphasis is on economic development strategies designed to spark innovation and growth, that deliver advantages for all businesses regardless of industry, sector or size. This new approach is one of the reasons that Site Selection magazine rated Michigan No. 4 in the nation in 2012 for major new corporate facilities and expansions.
The venture capital industry (in which I once worked) has taken notice and is expanding in Michigan. The state now is home to 20 venture capital firms that manage $1.5 billion in capital, up from 15 firms with $1 billion in 2008. Nationally, Michigan ranked No. 15 for VC activity last year, a big jump from No. 25 in 2011. This new investment will result in more and better jobs, especially in cutting-edge industries. In fact, Michigan ranks No. 3 nationally for high-tech job growth.
The changes we've put in place make Michigan a more attractive place for businesses today and in the future.