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Michigan's economy showing signs of improvement, but there are "headwinds" coming

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A Comerica Bank economist says Michigan's economy is making a comeback.   But clouds could be on the horizon.

“At the level of Main Street, for the average person, it’s starting to get a little bit better. Housing markets are firming up. Auto sales are coming back. Job markets are still gaining,” says Robert Dye, the chief economist for Comerica Bank, “So Main Street is feeling a little bit better. But there’s some headwinds out there.”

Dye says the rate of economic improvement in Michigan is leveling out.   And, he says other factors could negatively affect Michigan’s economy in the second half of this year. Those include Europe's economic troubles, and what he calls the "fiscal cliff" the U-S is headed for in 2013.   That's when major federal tax cuts are set to expire, and deep cuts in federal spending are expected to take place.

Meanwhile, Michigan retailers saw their sales slump in April.

The Michigan Retailers Association suggests the sales decline last month had more to do with a strong first three months of the year and poor weather, rather than waning customer interest.

Tom Scott is with the Michigan Retailers Association. He says the association expects retail sales will improve through the summer.    Scott says six in ten Michigan retailers are optimistic they will see higher sales this summer.

“When we were going through our really severe economic problems,” says Scott,  “We shut a lot of businesses….we shut a lot of jobs. The ones that are still here are the survivors.”

Only about ten percent of Michigan retailers expect to see their sales drop between Memorial Day and Labor Day.



Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.