Oakland University Forecasts Moderate Growth in Southeast Michigan


Metro Detroit’s economy will experience moderate growth this year, with gains in personal income, housing prices and a drop in unemployment, says a quarterly report from a panel of economic experts from Oakland University’s School of Business Administration in Rochester Hills.

After polling university and industry experts regarding southeastern Michigan’s economy, the Goldstar Expert Panel forecasts that 2014 per-capita personal income will grow 3 percent, housing prices will continue to increase (growing by 8.5 percent), and the unemployment rate will continue to fall, although it will remain above the nation’s average.

In 2015, the panel members expect the expansion to accelerate. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 8 percent, alongside an increase in private employment and U.S. light vehicle sales.

A separate report, also released by Oakland University, shows that consumers are gaining confidence — slowly yet surely. The consumer confidence index for the 2013 fourth quarter was 51.4, slightly above the neutral outlook of 50.

“It wasn’t a large improvement, but it is still an improvement,” says Jonathan Silberman, professor of economics at Oakland University. “There was a big improvement in the percentage of consumers who believe that their finances will improve by (2015) (61.1 percent).”

Local consumers also have a positive outlook on buying major household items, with an index value of 52.5. When forecasting the state of the national economy, the result was a score of 47, a .7 drop from the quarter before.

“What’s holding things back is a lackluster recovery,” Silberman says.