University of Michigan Releases Six-County Economic Forecast

(FLINT, Michigan – OCTOBER 27) Genesee County is projected to lead all six counties in the Regional Economic Forecast recently released by University of Michigan economists with the largest decrease in unemployment over the three-year forecast.  The projection of a 3.3 percent reduction in unemployment for Genesee County is among several presented at the second annual economic forecast for the Economic Growth Alliance, a partnership of six southeastern Michigan counties, which includes Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair Counties.

Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce says that an anticipated decline in Genesee County’s unemployment rate coupled with job growth is good news for Flint and Genesee County.

“The forecast for Genesee County reflects the economic mix in the region, in conjunction with the emergence of new manufacturing and automotive jobs, which contribute to the positive trend,” said Herman.  “It is encouraging to hear that jobs are expected to increase through 2013.”

The six-county region is expected to add more than 50,000 jobs this year through 2013 according to George Fulton and Don Grimes of the U-M Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy.  The economists forecast that the region will gain about 24,000 jobs this year, more than 13,000 jobs in 2012 and another 17,000 in 2013.

"Our view is that the recovery in the six-county region that began in 2010 will be sustained over our forecast horizon through 2013," Fulton said. "We see improved, but not vigorous, growth over the three-year period. The continuation of the recovery is supported by steadily rising vehicle sales and an improved U.S. economy over the next two years. These would be the best years for the local economy since 2000, although as with the nation, they would constitute a slower than usual recovery."

As a result of the improved job growth, the unemployment rate in the region drops from last year's 12.9 percent to 11.2 percent next year and 10.6 percent by 2013.

"After shrinking for several years, the region's labor force will begin expanding again starting in 2012, as additional job seekers are drawn in by improving job opportunities," Fulton said. "This keeps the jobless rate from falling as much as it otherwise would with the employment gains we are projecting."

"Over 90 percent of the gains in the goods-producing sector are concentrated in manufacturing, which until 2010 had declined for nine consecutive years," Grimes said. "The major source of manufacturing's renaissance in the region is, of course, the motor vehicle industry. The continuation of the auto recovery is anticipated by our forecast of steadily rising vehicle sales through 2013."

Over the three-year forecast period, household employment is expected to increase by more than 2,700 jobs in Genesee County and nearly 22,000 in the entire six-county region.

The Economic Growth Alliance was formed in recognition of the six-county region's influence as an economic unit of interrelated counties whose impact is greater than its individual parts, and where regional cooperation is integral to promoting the area's economic development initiatives.