On May 1st, over 600 people gathered at the Detroit Marriott – Troy for the 29th annual Oakland County Economic Outlook Luncheon, where University of Michigan economists Dr. George Fulton and Don Grimes presented their forecast for Oakland County’s economy.
In their report, it’s been determined that Oakland County is in its fifth year of recovering from the 2008-2009 recession. Even more, it is projected that Oakland County will reach “full employment” (an unemployment rate of 5%) in 2016 – below the projected national average.
“We are galloping towards our goal of full employment in Oakland County,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.
The report states that “we [Fulton & Grimes] were correct in forecasting job gains in all of the major industry divisions except for finance,” and “the two major industry divisions where job gains most exceeded our expectations were professional and business services, and manufacturing.”
These job gains show a shift in Oakland County’s economy to the knowledge economy, which reflects our populations highly educated workforce– something that matters now, and will continue to matter even more, further down the road.
“The knowledge based economy is a different kind of economy. It’s going to require more education, higher education in many instances. The jobs are high paying and sustainable — they’ll be here in 30 years from now. This report basically underscores that we are on our way,” Patterson said.
Don Grimes agreed, adding on, “Now we’re shifting – the economic recovery is becoming more broad based – it’s moving away from manufacturing into the knowledge economy. And Oakland County, for years – 20 years or more – has been working on programs to develop the knowledge economy in the County. So we’re greatly benefiting from that shift into the knowledge economy.”
Such programs include Emerging Sectors, Executive Patterson’s initiative launched in 2003 that identifies the top growth sectors and fosters business development in high tech fields such as aerospace, communications & information technology, and robotics and automation. Oakland County can also assist business professionals and entrepreneurs through our One Stop Shop Business Center, which offers workshops and one-on-one consulting.
A special thank you to event hosts Chase Bank and Oakland Community College, event sponsors Automation Alley, Bishop International Airport, Construction Association of Michigan, ITC Holdings, Kelly Services, Oakland County Workforce Development, and Oakland University.
The full 2014 Economic Outlook for Oakland County report will be available to the public in early June. You can view the presentation review online HERE. For more information regarding economic development and community affairs in Oakland County, visit our website at www.AdvantageOakland.com.