Forecast: Oakland County to keep gaining jobs

May 2, 2014

L. Brooks Patterson
Credit via Oakland County

Two University of Michigan economists say Oakland County should keep up its post-recession job growth through at least 2016.

U of M economists George Fulton and Don Grimes do the annual county-level economic forecast for Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s office every year.

Their current forecast suggests Oakland County will add nearly 43,000 jobs in the next three years. That’s in addition to the roughly 65,000 it’s added since 2009.

That job growth should be “widespread across all major sectors, with rapid growth in the highly-compensated professional and technical services industry that forms the core of the knowledge economy,” says Fulton.

The economists praised Patterson’s “forward-thinking” policies, capitalizing on Oakland County’s relatively high education levels to position itself as a hub of the white-collar auto industry.

"Even within manufacturing, it’s the knowledge-based end of that sector (that’s growing),” Patterson says. “It’s the design, the engineering … it’s the high-paying jobs that are sustainable, that will be here for years to come. That’s where I want the county to go.”

The forecast estimates that by 2016, Oakland will have regained almost 75% of the jobs it lost from 2000-2009. It also predicts the county’s unemployment rate will fall below the national average this year, and to about 5% by 2016.

Fulton and Grimes say the county’s longer-term economic forecast is also strong.

But they acknowledge that could change if the national economy stalls, or an international crisis destabilizes world markets.