The region has a population of more than 860,000 people, over 395,000 workers with close to 360,000 jobs, and average earnings of $38,754. Our rich history of manufacturing and agricultural resources has produced a skilled and available workforce. The workforce is enriched by many higher education campuses including: Baker College, Kettering University, Michigan State University – College of Human Medicine, Mott Community College, St. Clair Community College and The University of Michigan-Flint.
The I-69 Thumb Region offers many features that make it an ideal place to live and work. From the shoreline and beaches to the farms and wildlife, city lights and unique towns abound in the region. There are great places to go fishing, trail systems for walking and natural waterways in the I-69 Thumb Region. Urban activities and cultural amenities make the region a draw for visitors and residents alike. The cost of living is low, quality k-12 and higher education are plentiful and innovative health care systems make the good life possible in the region.
The region is served by four major expressways – I-69, I-75, US 23 and I-94; multiple rail providers, including CSX and Canadian National; Bishop International Airport with multiple passenger and freight carriers and the Blue Water Bridge, which connects Port Huron to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. There are also multiple industrial business parks offering high quality/high value buildings and acreage.
Michigan is the home of U.S. manufacturing and the region has an enduring legacy and a strong future in the industry. Manufacturing tops the list of high-growth industries in the region. The 35 percent growth in jobs since 2009 outpaces the industry’s gains statewide. The top regional manufacturing sub-sectors include: transportation equipment, industrial machinery, and metal working. Supply chain strengths in engineering and plastics design, transportation/logistics, fabrication and many support services.
Agriculture is big business in the region. Major crops include soy beans, corn, sugar beets, hay and wheat. Poultry and dairy production are among the highest in Michigan. Many counties in the region are the top producers of crops in the state. Huron County has largest total area of farmland in the state. Sanilac County has the largest number of cattle of operations. Three of the top 5 organic production counties are part of the region. Food processing is also a key industry in the region. Genesee County is fourth in the state for the number of food warehouses and number 5 for food service establishments.
The Blue Water Bridge and double stack Rail Tunnel connects Port Huron, Michigan with Sarnia, Ontario, Canada over the St. Clair River. It connects I-69 in Michigan with Highway 402 in Ontario. Flint’s Bishop International Airport is home to FedEx and passenger airlines, including Delta, Southwest, American and United. A phase II freight facility is planned and airport passenger terminal expansion was recently completed. The region’s rail infrastructure includes CSX, Canadian National and short-line railroads including Great Lakes Central and Rail America. International service connects to Montreal, Halifax, Prince Rupert and many deep water U.S. ports.