By Vidhan Rana

With 15.2 percent unemployment in June 2009, Michigan is the state hit hardest by the current economic hardship. In the last few years, nearly all the economic indicators in the state have been negative. The motor vehicle manufacturing sector has, perhaps, felt the biggest impact. The state lost approximately 92,000 jobs between June 2008 and June 2009 in the sector, or a decline of 46 percent. The manufacturing sector as a whole has declined in the state by 25 percent in the same period. For a state that was known for its cars and manufacturing history, it is a really troubling sign.

The graph below shows the level of employment in the motor vehicle manufacturing sector in Michigan from 1990 to 2009. The dramatic decline in employment in the sector is having a devastating impact on the economies of many Michigan cities.

Amid all the bad news, there are some glimmers of hope in the state, and it is coming in the form of green. In the first six months of 2009, the state has seen six project announcements in the wind and solar energy sector that has brought more than $1 billion in investment and 2,000 new jobs. While this may seem insignificant when compared to the job losses in the automotive sector, it is indeed a positive sign for the state’s economy. The chart below shows the level of investment in the clean energy sector in the state since 2004.

As one can see, while the investment dipped in 2008 after growing precipitously between 2004 and 2007, the fact that the state has seen such massive increases in investment in 2009 is a testament to the state’s legacy of manufacturing expertise.

Check out the map below to review the six announcements in Michigan and read more about each of the projects:

View Green Announcements in Michigan in a larger map