Bridge Michigan this week launched a new tool to help readers keep track of these and more: The Michigan Economic Panelwhich can be found on our website Business Watches thematic page.

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It was created by Paula Gardner, business editor, and Mike Wilkinson, data reporter, to keep track of many important elements of our changing economy.

The dashboard can help answer the following questions: Have more Michigan residents returned to work? Do they make more money? Is the cost of housing rising or falling? Is Michigan keeping up with the country and other nearby states?

The dashboard may also raise questions that we expect to be answered in our report over the next year. Why, for example, is the unemployment rate in Indiana so much lower than in Michigan?

We will update the tracker as new information becomes available. We can add a one-time look at the slice of the economy. We will begin to consider the performance of state-owned companies in Michigan. The dashboard will receive data from the state and other sources, such as the Federal Reserve, and will be updated as fresh data becomes available.

Please check it out, let us know what we are missing, what can be improved and what you want more. We look forward to receiving your feedback. Please write pgardner@bridgemi.com or mwilkinson@bridgemi.com with your thoughts and questions.

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