In its annual forecast of the Oakland County economy, the University of Michigan Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics provided encouraging news about the prospects for the county today and into the future.
During Oakland County’s 37th Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon, hosted at M1 Concourse in April, University of Michigan economists Gabriel Ehrlich and Donald Grimes said Oakland County is rebounding from the recession and the pandemic as unemployment rates drop and wages increase.
Watch the 2022 Oakland County Economic Outlook:
University economists predict a stronger recovery for the county than Michigan overall because of a relatively larger private sector that’s grown more quickly than the government sector, a tighter labor market, and a strong uptake in federal pandemic relief efforts designed to help small businesses. In fact, Oakland County ranked first out of all the counties in Michigan in utilizing Paycheck Protection Program and CARES act funds.
“Oakland County’s recovery highlights its strengths as a region, including its educated workforce and focus on 21st-century manufacturing and engineering.”-Gabriel Ehrlich, Director of U-M Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics
One line of the report sums up the progress the county has made while dealing with the public health crisis that has challenged all of us: Oakland County “Enjoyed a strong rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession during 2021 and is poised for further growth over the next three years.”
Oakland County helped 15,000 businesses that support 580,711 jobs. The county’s investments in the last two years are paying off. The ratings agencies are taking notice, too. They reaffirmed the county’s AAA bond rating, which means that millions of dollars will be saved in interest costs when the county issues bonds to make significant capital improvements.
The economic forecast not only helps the county understand the economic environment, but it also helps inform decisions when developing programs and services for residents and businesses. Now, with American Rescue Plan federal funds, Oakland County is investing more in programs that will have long-term benefits for residents, businesses, and the economy. Some of those investments include:
Business Forward: small business consultants are expected to connect with thousands of Oakland County businesses to help them be nimble and adapt to the new economic reality.
Oakland80: career coaching, college and training scholarships, wrap-around services like covering the costs of books, supplies, childcare and transportation.
Project Diamond: expansion of programs to help businesses invest in advanced manufacturing and technology.
Revolving Loan Fund: to help underserved populations: women, minority, veteran-owned startups and entrepreneurs.
Health 360: expansion of health care programs in Southfield and Pontiac.
Mental health grants: $79 million to 40 agencies to improve access to mental health services.
School grants: $2 million for mental health support for our students.
To learn more, read the full Oakland County Economic Outlook.