MI: People with Arab Ancestry Play Vital Role in Area Economy


Wayne State University and the League for Economic Empowerment (LEE) released their Southeast Michigan Arab American Economic Impact Study in early May.

The purpose of this one-of-a-kind study of Arab Americans in Michigan is to gauge the economic impact that persons of Arab ancestry have on Southeast Michigan such as overall earnings, purchasing power, occupational/industry breakdowns and business ownership, according to LEE's Web site.

"The first step in this study was to identify employment of different industries in Southeast Michigan," said Lyke Thompson, director of Wayne State's Center for Urban Studies, where the study was conducted.

The REMI (Regional Economic Model Inc.) was used to conduct the study and crunch the numbers.

"We input the figures (employment range of industries) into the model," Thompson said. "Then the model produces the best estimated results after putting the numbers through numerous, complex equations."

Such a model would also be used to determine figures about the auto industry, or other aspects of the economy.

The study used employment figures from the United States Census Bureau's Decennial Census and American Community Surveys from 2000 and 2005.

"What I think is really important to take away from this study is that Arab Americans act as great ambassadors and very important bridges for the U.S. to the rest of the world," Thompson said.

"Some Arab Americans own their own businesses here, and in another parts of the world, most likely their home country. They help us build global relationships for the U.S., especially little landlocked Southeast Michigan."

The model generated estimates for employment contributions, earnings contributions, and tax contributions within four counties in Southeast Michigan: Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne.

 


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