Oakland County’s 33rd Economic Forecast, Future Growth and Prosperity

Great news was reported across the board at Oakland County’s 33rd Economic Outlook Luncheon on Thursday, April 26th. The luncheon, held at the Troy Marriott, was hosted by Chase Bank, Oakland Community College, and Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs. It featured keynote addresses from two University of Michigan Economists: Dr. Gabriel Ehrlich and Donald Grimes.

Before the luncheon, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Grimes, and Dr. Ehrlich spoke to the press and shared highlights from the report. According to the report, Oakland County has posted 119,100 job additions from 2010 – 2017. The county’s average growth pace of 2.6% per year outpaced both the nation’s and the state’s average rate of 1.8% over the same period. The continued recovery in Oakland County is consistent with the sustained expansion of the U.S. and Michigan economies. View a digital copy of the 2018 – 2020 Oakland County Economic Outlook Summary online.

“The most rapid growth industries in Oakland County are in professional and technical services like engineering,  computer science, and design, the second is healthcare, and third is hospitality and leisure,” said Grimes.

Sometime in 2020, Oakland County will have replenished all the jobs lost from between the spring of 2000 and summer of 2009. From the end of 2017 to the end of 2020, the county will add 42,974 jobs, bringing recovery total to 173,304 jobs.

“Higher-wage industries grew faster than average on a percentage basis in Oakland County from 2010 – 2017. The 42,468 job additions in this category came to a total growth of 22.3%,” reported Dr. Ehrlich.

For comparison, the average annual wage in the United States was $53,621 in 2016, versus $59,968 in Oakland County.

The news was welcomed by Patterson and his grandson, Brooks Warner, who was in attendance for Take Your Child to Work Day.

“I’m proud to say the forecast puts a feather in the cap of our Emerging Sectors economic diversification initiative, which fosters growth in the top 10 knowledge-based industries,” said Patterson.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and grandson pose for a photo.

Oakland Community College (OCC) hosted a reception where OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano was joined by Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Director Salvador Salort-Pons and Forgotten Harvest First Vice Chairperson John C. Carter. Salort-Pons shared that the DIA is an organization that is now looking outward, going beyond the walls of the museum to serve the counties and communities. He provided details about DIA exhibitions and thanked Oakland County for its support. Carter spoke about Forgotten Harvests’ commitment to end food waste and hunger in Metro Detroit and its collaboration with OCC to make sure that people are gainfully employed by conducting workforce training. OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano indicated that skilled trades continue to be at the forefront in college education and that OCC is driven by the power to succeed. Patterson’s 10-year-old grandson brought the OCC reception to a close with poise as he stood at the podium with Provenzano and stated, “We are Oakland Community College – Excellence Empowered.”

Brad Terryn, Senior Vice President at JP Morgan Chase, welcomed the packed room and talked about JP Morgan Chase’s commitment, through the Veteran Jobs Mission, to hire 100,000 veterans by 2020. He also shared details on Chase’s culture of giving, “Chase employees have provided 2,400 hours of volunteer service in the state and 48% of those were in Oakland County.” Terryn, a life-long resident of Michigan and current Oakland County resident, is responsible for banking relationships with state and municipal departments, agencies, and authorities in the midwest.

Key Points in the 2018-2020 Economic Outlook Summary included: 

  • Job creation and diversification are transforming Oakland County’s economy from manufacturing-based to knowledge-based through the Emerging Sectors initiative. Since inception, the initiative has generated $4.7 billion and has created and retained more than 84,300 jobs.
  • Oakland’s unemployment rate averaged 3.5% in 2017, down nearly three-quarters from its peak in 2009. The average rate in 2017 was the lowest annual reading since the 2.6% rate recorded in 2000. It was also .9% below the average U.S. rate last year. The drop in unemployment came despite continued growth in the labor force, which grew by 1.4% last year. That was its sixth consecutive year of growth, as improving opportunities have drawn more workers into the labor market.
  • The Oakland County unemployment rate is forecast to be: 3.4% in 2018, 2.9% in 2019, and 2.6% in 2020, tying the historic low set in 2000.
  • In total, Oakland County has forecasted 42,000 job additions over the forecast period, an average pace of 1.9% per year. The forecast also states that job growth in Oakland County will be skewed toward the better-compensated end of the wage scale, consistent with the trend in the current recovery period to date.

Patterson proclaimed, Oakland County’s prosperity is real, the region’s prosperity is real and Michigan’s is real.” He continued, “Oakland County’s recent growth reflects an economy that continues to diversify, a highly educated labor force, and policy initiatives focused on future growth sectors.”

The 33rd Economic Outlook Luncheon could not have been such a success without Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs, Advantage Oakland, which includes Deputy County Executive Dr. Timothy Meyer, Director Irene Spanos, Deputy Director Dan Hunter, and about 90 other employees who work in the department. The team has been working to address labor challenges through several initiatives and partnerships with Oakland County Michigan Works!Oakland Community College, and Oakland Schools. Advantage Oakland offers One-Stop Ready, Tech248, One Stop Shop, Main Street, and more.

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The 33rd Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon was hosted by J.P. Morgan ChaseOakland Community College, and Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs. The event was sponsored by Automation AlleyBeaumont HealthBishop International Airport, Citizens BankCAM – Construction Association of MichiganDTE EnergyHuron Valley State Bank, ITC: A Fortis CompanyKelly ServicesOakland County MI Works, Oakland County MI Works, Troy, Oakland County MI Works Oak Park and Oakland University.

A digital copy of the 2018 – 2020 Oakland County Economic Outlook Summary presented at the Luncheon is available online.

You can follow Oakland County’s Economic Development and Community Affairs on their website, or visit their Facebook and Twitter pages.


For the latest county news and events, visit our website and follow along with us on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestYouTube, and LinkedIn using #OaklandCounty.

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