July 15, 2024
Ford development boom west of Detroit creates opportunity — and uncertainty

Zooming out, the plant means a lot more to Michigan’s economy than plant jobs and temporary construction work, proponents say. Officials have argued that the state has only a brief window to capitalize on the flood of investment during a once-in-a-century industry transformation.

“This helps anchor the other investments in the state,” said Kristin Dziczek, automotive policy adviser with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit Branch. “If the supply chain is local or regional, then you get jobs in supply chains.”

Manufacturing jobs have a significantly higher economic multiplier than other types of positions because of all the inputs needed at manufacturing jobs, Dziczek said. And higher-wage engineering jobs often follow manufacturing jobs.

Ford’s planned plant has an employment multiplier of 3.38, meaning that for every direct job from Ford, the state’s economy will add 3.38 indirect jobs.

Economic developers are already at work readying sites for Ford’s suppliers in Marshall. While the battery plant will take up 950 acres, the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance has closed on 1,100 acres and has most of the 2,000-acre megasite under option, said Jim Durian, CEO of the agency.

Additionally, there are about 150 acres ready or near ready for development at a nearby industrial park.

“We’ve got everything from housing developers to industrial developers looking to identify sites,” Durian said. “I think that when you land a big deal like this, it builds more momentum for opportunities.”

Durian said conversations have started with automotive suppliers, but no deals have been cemented. “We just know that the supplier usually follows a large project like this,” he said.

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