WATERFORD, Mich., July 9, 2009 – Oakland County has had more than $2.4 billion worth of business investment in the past five years, giving residents a reason to be optimistic about the future of the county during the most difficult economic challenge in its history, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said today.
“We’re halfway through our worst year and I’m encouraging the public to keep up the good fight,” Patterson said. “There is light at the end of the tunnel. As a county, we’re achieving positive economic results that should give a ray of hope and a reason for optimism.”
June’s investment Patterson released the figures from the June Emerging Sectors® report, which accounted for was the largest single month report since the program began five years ago. It listed $748 million of investment in emerging/high tech and traditional businesses. Since the Emerging Sectors program began, traditional business investment has totaled $1.1 billion and emerging businesses accounted for $1.3 billion of new investment.
Patterson told reporters during a morning news conference that 2009 was predicted by University of Michigan economist George Fulton to be the worst year in terms of job loss in Oakland County’s recorded history. Fulton predicted the county would lose more than 25,000 jobs. But Patterson said the June report, which included General Motors’ announcement that it would invest $650 million in its Orion Township assembly plant to build small vehicles, surprised even him.
“We had our best month ever during one of the worst times ever,” Patterson said. “We’ve withstood all of the body blows and we’re still standing. We’re halfway there. Just hang on a little longer.”
Patterson created the Emerging Sectors program in 2004 to help diversify Oakland County’s economy and replace lost manufacturing jobs. It targets international companies that wish to expand their operations into North America as well as North American companies who see Oakland County as the right business location. Traditional businesses are classified as manufacturing and automotive based.
Since 2004, when the program began, Emerging Sectors has attracted investment of $1.3 billion, created 15,885 jobs, retained almost 6,017 jobs and generated more than $32.6 million in taxes. One hundred twenty successes – companies who are either new to Oakland County or have stayed in Oakland County when they considered moving to another state or country – highlight the program.