Kirk Pinho| Crain’s Detroit Business

University of Michigan economists expect Oakland County to add 43,000 jobs in the next three years and its unemployment rate to drop to 5 percent by 2016.

The county’s 29th annual economic outlook study found that Oakland County will add 11,000 jobs this year, 15,000 next year and 17,000 in 2016 due to an improving national economic climate, local housing market and recovering automotive sales by the Detroit 3.

George Fulton and Don Grimes of the U-M Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy conducted the study, which was presented today at the Oakland County Economic Outlook luncheon at the Troy Marriott.

“The county is now into its fifth year of economic recovery, which is becoming more broad-based across sectors, including housing,” Fulton said. “Unemployment is continuing to fall and much more rapidly than the nation’s.”

In Oakland, just one out of 17 new jobs in the next three years will be manufacturing, according to Grimes and Fulton.

“You’ll get the growth in the knowledge economy, especially in regard to the automobile industry,” Grimes said. “Oakland County is a center of that activity. That is one of the really great strengths of the county. It is concentrating in the right end of the economy.”

There were 65,000 jobs added in the last three years. There were 21,500 white-collar jobs from 2009 to last year, and 11,000 of those are expected to be added in the next three years. Those include:

  • 4,500 engineering jobs
  • 2,300 automotive testing lab jobs
  • 2,000 automotive management jobs

The health care industry is expected to add 6,300 jobs, while the leisure and hospitality industry is expected to add 3,800. Administrative support and waste management is expected to bring in 3,400 jobs, while finance, insurance and real estate is expected to add 2,800. Wholesale and retail trade jobs are expected to each grow by 2,200 in the next three years.

About 5,200 high-wage jobs in the goods-producing sector – manufacturing and construction – are expected by 2016.

“Over the next three years, the manufacturing sector in Oakland County contributes only one out of every 17 jobs added in the county over this period,” Grimes said. “By 2016, the manufacturing sector accounts for less than 9 percent of the jobs in the county. We expect that its share will continue to slip.”

Automotive manufacturing is expected to add 700 jobs by 2016.

The county lost 18,494 jobs in 2006; 5,801 in 2007; 20,433 in 2008; 59,663 in 2009; and 1,113 in 2010. It has gained jobs the last three years: 24,412 in 2011, 24,865 in 2012 and 15,734 last year.

In recent years, Fulton and Grimes have underestimated the job growth – by 1.6 percent in 2010, 2.3 percent in 2011, 2.2 percent in 2012 and 0.8 percent last year. They overestimated job growth by 2.2 percent in 2008 and 5.5 percent in 2009.

Kirk Pinho: (313) 446-0412, Twitter: @kirkpinhoCDB

Share On