The city of Midland ranks highest in the state in terms of economic freedom according to a new study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
The study, called Economic Freedom in the City: Ranking Michigan’s Labor Markets, grades metropolitan areas on how they performed across three major policy areas: labor market regulations, taxes and government spending. The study finds most Michigan cities rank below the national average for economic freedom. Midland was the state’s top performer and the only metropolitan area that scored above the national average, with an overall economic freedom score of a 6.76 out of 10. Ann Arbor was second at 6.66 and Grand Rapids-Wyoming was third with a score of 6.56. Bay City, Flint and Battle Creek were the worst performers among the state’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas.
The study demonstrates strong correlations between greater freedom and economic well-being. According to the study’s authors, it overwhelmingly finds positive connections between economic liberty and outcomes such as lower unemployment rates, higher employment and population growth. In addition to the broader measures of taxes, government regulations and spending, the study looks at more detailed statistics, including minimum wage burdens, bureaucracy size and union influence.