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The New Normal in Michigan Factories Is Lower Pay

MarketWatch (08/20/13) Barry D. Wood

Although Michigan has made employment gains in the past year, some experts say the Great Recession has created a new normal in which wages are lower and job growth is slower. For instance, American Axle is hiring 600 workers at its Three Rivers-based factory, with new hires earning $10.50 per hour, or half of the going rate a decade ago, amounting to an annual salary of less than $25,000.

Center for Automotive Research labor specialist Kristin Dziczek says trade unions no longer have the power to set wages, and globalization and increased competition in the auto-parts industry have put significant pressure on costs. Tim Leuliette, chief executive of the parts supplier Visteon, says some auto workers have been pushed from the middle class to the working poor as a result.