The Great Lakes states are an economic powerhouse primarily because they are interconnected by the great lakes.
Certainly other areas of the US have those same attributes.
The article from: http://www.visualcapitalist.com/great-lakes-economy/ provides a good graphics illustration.
NC has been our home for the past 30 years and the RDU area is one the best places for economic growth…..the Great Lakes economy does have a significant advantage….fresh water. Winters, however can be challenging!