DETROIT (WWJ) — More than 400 business executives, nonprofit and community leaders, and policymakers met Wednesday in Detroit to take stock of Michigan’s economic transformation to date at the CEO Summit of Business Leaders for Michigan, the statewide CEO group and successor to Detroit Renaissance.

Leaders also rallied around winning competitive strategies for moving Michigan and its businesses to the front of the line.

Former Governor John Engler, now CEO of the national CEO group Business Roundtable, and New York Times bestselling author and futurist Daniel Burrus headlined the summit.

Business Leaders for Michigan unveiled an advance preview of its economic benchmarking report, which shows Michigan is continuing to head in the right direction relative to most economic indicators.

“We’ve taken steps to make Michigan more competitive during the past few years, and it’s beginning to pay dividends through better personal incomes, lower unemployment, and a more favorable business environment,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO. “Now, it’s time we think bigger, become fiercely competitive, and move Michigan ahead of others to win economically. As other states push forward, Michigan also must work smarter, better, faster to regain jobs we lost during the recession.”

BLM’s 2013 Economic Competitiveness Benchmarking Report shows that Michigan is, in many cases, out-performing the nation. Findings include:
* Michigan’s per capita GDP, per capita income, and employment have all grown faster than the national average.
* Michigan’s per capita GDP and employment has grown as much as three times faster than other top performing states.
* Michigan’s corporate tax climate has risen from the second worst to the seventh best nationally. The overall tax climate has improved to 12th best nationally.
* Michigan remains a national leader in R&D and talent production.
* Michigan’s research universities (Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University) land the state in the Top Ten rankings
* Michigan ranks 13th in patent awards

The report also found that while Michigan ranks high in innovation, overall educational attainment needs to improve for Michigan to keep pace in the knowledge economy. Michigan falls short of “Top Ten” states for individuals with an sssociate’s degree or greater and other states are doing a better job of producing students that are ready to enter college or start a career.

Today’s sessions included discussions of the ways technology is changing how people work, the winning formulas businesses need to succeed, and strategic investment in key state assets.

The one-day event was held at The Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit. Materials from the event can be found at http://www.businessleadersformichigan.com/events.

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