Job growth has been forecast to average 1.4 percent per year in Oakland County, creating a total increase of 31,600 jobs from 2019-2021, according to economists at Ann Arbor’s University of Michigan. The county has completed nine consecutive years of job growth.
In their annual forecast of the county’s economy released today at a luncheon at the Troy Marriott, Gabriel Ehrlich, director of the U-M Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, and his colleague, Don Grimes, predict that the county will add about 10,300 jobs each year from 2019-2021.
“The acceleration in Oakland County’s job growth is a heartening sign this far into the country’s recovery period,” says Ehrlich. “It is especially impressive given the recent softness in Detroit Three light vehicle sales, which have declined in each of the past three years.”
Oakland’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent last year, while the nation’s was 3.9 percent. It is forecast to drop to 2.7 percent this year and to 2.6 percent in each of the next two years (2020 and 2021).
The county improved its place on a prosperity ranking constructed by the U-M economists when compared with its peer counties across the nation.
Employment in higher-wage industries, or those with average annual wages of $75,000 or more, are expected to increase by 4.4 percent (nearly 11,000 jobs) in Oakland County over the next three years. Jobs in middle-wage industries, or those paying from $35,000-$74,999, are expected to grow by 4.1 percent. Together, these wage tiers are expected to make up more than 75 percent of the net new jobs created in the county through 2021.
“We are forecasting that job growth will be similar in all industry wage categories over the next three years,” says Grimes. “One factor we see boosting growth in the middle-wage industries is the government sector’s return to growth in Oakland County.”
The largest job gains forecast through 2021 are in private-service sector industries such as professional and business services, private education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. The forecast shows slow growth for manufacturing in the next three years.
Motor vehicle manufacturing, which led the early stages of Oakland’s economic recovery, is expected to add a total of 569 new jobs over the next three years. Those are due in part to the planned expansion of production activity at General Motors’ Lake Orion assembly plant.
Manufacturing employment outside of transportation equipment has tended to grow more rapidly. While employment growth in other manufacturing industries averaged 3.4 percent from 2012-2017, the forecast indicates that job creation in those industries will slow in the next three years to an average of 0.6 percent per year.
The 34th annual U-M forecast of Oakland County’s economy was sponsored by 13 regional organizations. Its presentation was hosted by the county’s Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs, Chase, and Oakland Community College.