Highlights of The 30th Annual Oakland County Economic Outlook Luncheon

Last Thursday, Oakland County’s 2015-2017 economic forecast was reported at the 30th Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon at the Troy Marriott. Over 620 people attended the sold out event to hear University of Michigan economists, Dr. George Fulton and Donald Grimes, share Oakland County’s three-year economic forecast. Dan Hunter, Deputy Director of Oakland County Economic Development & Community Affairs explained, “The economic luncheon is really helpful for policy makers, companies and investors to help see where the economy is going.”

Prior to the luncheon, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson held a press conference with Fulton and Grimes, who have prepared the county’s economic forecast for the last thirty years. During the press conference, Fulton and Grimes shared the fantastic news that wages in Oakland County are up, unemployment is falling and jobs are being created. Patterson was ecstatic about the report and said,

“The numbers in the outlook are spectacular. We’re getting to places we only dreamed about. When you get below 5% unemployment, you’ve reached full employment. That day is not that far off. According to this report and according to our growth studies, we’re going to hit that number squarely this year and probably drop below 5 to 4.9% or 4.8%. It’s just incredible growth in the right sectors.”

For video of the press conference, click here.

Before the luncheon began, L. Brooks Patterson met with Oakland Community College (OCC) Chancellor Timothy Meyer and accepted a plaque commemorating 50 years as partners. During the luncheon, Chancellor Meyer addressed the room and shared that OCC is a proud partner of Oakland County’s economic recovery.

Brad Terryn, Managing Director at JP Morgan Chase, welcomed the packed room and shared two of JP Morgan’s current initiatives. One initiative is to hire 300,000 veterans by 2020. They have already hired over 217,000 veterans so far and had to reset their goal to 300,000 after surpassing their previous goal of hiring 100,000 veterans. The second initiative will be a 100M investment over the next five years in the city of Detroit to go toward neighborhoods, small business, community development, strengthening the workforce and economic growth seed.

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Patterson introduced Fulton and Grimes who highlighted important points in the report summary and also assessed the accuracy of the forecast that they prepared last year. Fulton predicted job growth will pick up in the next 3 years and reach 49,000 new jobs in Oakland County. He reiterated the importance of making sure that we have skilled workers that can work in higher tech and more educated industries that are increasingly growing in the country. Grimes shared that Oakland County has recovered faster than the state of Michigan through the forecast period. He also told us that the average real wage will grow 4.6% over the next 3 years. By 2017, it will be 1.2% above the previous peak in 1999.

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A full house at the 30th Annual Oakland County Economic Outlook Luncheon

Key Points in the 2015-2017 Economic Outlook Summary included:

  • Oakland County is in its 6th year of recovery from the Great Recession.
  • From 2009-2014, the county’s job growth (12.8%) greatly outpaced the nation’s (6.0%) and the state’s (8.0%).
  • The auto industry recovery and the county’s strong economic fundamentals are driving job growth, especially in the diversification into the knowledge-based economy.
  • From the summer of 2009 to the third quarter of 2014 (last published data), the county gained 88,439 jobs.
  • Fulton and Grimes are forecasting an additional 53,777 jobs gained from the end of the third quarter 2014 through the end of 2017.
  • Combined, from summer 2009 to the end of 2017, that’s 142,214 jobs gained, or 87% of the 163,314 jobs lost during the Great Recession replenished.
  • Much of the job growth is in the knowledge-based sectors.
  • By 2017, the manufacturing sector will account for only 8.8% of the jobs in Oakland County, down from 16 % in 1990 and 14% in 2000. Its share of the Oakland County economy will continue to slip beyond 2017.
  • In 2015, the unemployment rate for Oakland County will equal the nations at 5.3%.
  • In 2016, the county’s unemployment rate will fall below the national average. The county will be at 4.7 % and the nation will be at 5.0 %. Remember, economists consider 5% and below “full employment.”
  • The last time Oakland County’s unemployment rate was lower than the U.S. rate was a 12-year stretch from 1992 to 2003, inclusive.
  • In 2017, it is forecast that Oakland County’s unemployment rate will drop further to 4.3% while the U.S. rate drops to 4.6%.

Stay tuned! Oakland County’s full economic report will be posted on advantageoakland.comin June 2015.

Tapsnap Detroit was also on hand at the luncheon capturing fun photo booth shots for all of the attendees. Here’s are some of our favorites:

For the full album of Tapsnap photos, visit Advantage Oakland’s Facebook album.

Follow Oakland County’s Economic Development and Community Affairs on www.advantageoakland.com, Facebook and Twitter.

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