In 2019, before the global coronavirus pandemic hit, Michigan had what looked like a strong economy, driven partly by a thriving auto industry. GDP was high and unemployment was low. By traditional measures, we were thriving. And yet, many Michigan families were struggling—by the Michigan Association of United Way’s count, 38 percent of Michigan families couldn’t afford the basic necessities in 2019. What explains the disconnect? In this report, we’ll share a set of data that paints an accurate picture of Michigan’s strong, prepandemic economy. We will explore the labor market and what jobs actually pay, along with the educational requirement of jobs that pay low, middle, and high wages.