New business portal gives entrepreneurs resources to succeed

The Library of Michigan is pleased to announce that MeL Business,, the newly redesigned business portal of the Michigan eLibrary, has debuted. The portal is designed to better assist business services consultants and librarians who work with business owners and entrepreneurs as well as those who want to start a business and work with the resources on their own and on their own time.

MeL Business incorporates a series of four videos in which librarians, business services consultants and actual entrepreneurs talk about how using MeL’s business eResources helps them to Start. Grow. Support. Succeed. Those interested can watch these videos on the portal page to find out how MeL Business can work for you or go to MeL’s YouTube channel. MeL’s subscription eResources—available at no cost to all Michigan residents—are showcased on the MeL Business homepage along with targeted websites, selected business support partner organizations, and a Twitter feed from business support organizations.  This makes for an excellent launch pad for contributing to economic development in your area.

On Sept. 13, MeL hosted a Twitter Chat on MeL Business which was a huge success.  Business services partners and participants chatted about entrepreneurship and how doing research and finding data using MeL resources is critical in both starting and developing a business in Michigan. Reach MeL using Twitter and use the hashtag #MeLBizChat.

Deb Renee Biggs, Michigan eLibrary Coordinator & Library Consultant

Macomb County has most employed since March 2001

It’s not just the thermometers that have been rising all summer. The most recent jobs update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Macomb County gained 3,286 jobs last month and 15,036 total so far in 2016.

Under the new executive form of government, since County Executive Mark Hackel took office in January 2011, Macomb County has gained 54,138 jobs. This is the highest number of people employed in Macomb County in more than 15 years, dating back to March 2001 when 412,364 people were employed.

“Exciting new sectors of mobility, aerospace, life sciences, information technology, defense and homeland security have emerged alongside our energized manufacturing industry,” said Executive Hackel. “These record-breaking numbers not only look great on paper but are essential to the vitality of our families in our communities.”

The updated job numbers continue the streak of seven continuous years of job growth in Macomb County. More jobs have been added every year since the height of the recession in 2009, when 350,776 people in the county were working. The county peaked in job numbers in May 1999, when 437,251 were employed. At that time, unemployment was at a mere 2.7 percent.


Are you a company looking to tap into Macomb County’s highly skilled labor force? We can help. Reach out to the Department of Planning & Economic Development today!

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at


IT jobs growing in Macomb County

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected through technology, Macomb County is on the cutting edge of the information technology (IT) and cybersecurity industries.

There are currently 367 companies that make up Macomb County’s network of IT and cybersecurity businesses. Collectively, they employ more than 8,000 workers (and growing!). These companies are utilizing sophisticated software systems and the latest in technology to revolutionize security.

IT1At the Velocity Hub of the Michigan Cyber Range, Macomb County companies have access to the resources they need to secure their connected products. Certification classes in more than 20 different cybersecurity disciplines equip our workforce with the knowledge needed to excel in this growing industry.

The county is also home to MADCAT (Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Assurance Team), an organization devoted to supporting the region’s cyber ecosystem. Through collaborative partnerships, MADCAT focuses on driving technology innovation forward.

Jobs are available and growing across all fields of IT and cybersecurity. Here is a snapshot of some of the fastest growing in June of this year.


The business development team of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is here to help.  Our job is to be knowledgeable about and connected to a wide assortment of programs available to help businesses succeed.

Our services are free, confidential and easily accessed.  Simply get in touch, and we will arrange for your team to meet with our seasoned professionals. We will listen to your goals to grow your business, discuss current and anticipated barriers and discuss options for getting you on your way.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at

Macomb then and now

On a daily basis, we are bombarded with facts and figures about how the economy is doing: the jobs report, quarterly GDP, auto sales, stock indexes. Those with an agenda may have an overly bleak or optimistic viewpoint, while others seem far too concerned with the price of tea in China when all you want to know is how things are going in Macomb.

Macomb County’s economy is strong. But just how strong depends largely on perspective. The county has undergone significant economic growth since the turn of the new decade, but still hasn’t fully recovered from highs reached back around the new millennium.

In 2010, Macomb County had an unemployment rate of 13.9 percent. Nearly 60,000 individuals of the county’s approximately 425,000 labor force were drawing unemployment. In 2015, that number dwindled to 6.1 percent (roughly 25,000).

The economy in Macomb County has steadily improved since bottoming out in 2009, where Michigan was hit especially hard during the Great Recession.

To go back to when things were best, you have to look back to 1999 when Macomb County hit its maximum – 427,668 people in the county had jobs and unemployment was only 3.3 percent. Today, 390,572 are employed, up from a low of 350,776 in 2009.


Where are the jobs coming from?

Manufacturing in Macomb County declined for nine straight years from 2000-2009, but has since rebounded six straight years. Health care and accommodation and foodservices industries have seen growth, while retail and construction have both declined.


Looking at these industries over the past 15 years highlights two key points. The first is that manufacturing was and continues to be Macomb County’s driving economic force. The second is that it has also been the industry most sensitive to change. From 2000 – 2009, manufacturing in Macomb lost 54,095 jobs (51.82 percent – more than half!), then from 2009 – 2015 gained 19,755 of them back. The change in the number of manufacturing jobs outnumbers the entire number of jobs in many of Macomb’s major industries.

While manufacturing is the single biggest industry within the county, it is worthwhile to point out a few other trends. Construction has also been impacted by the recession and has seen a downturn (and subsequent rebound). Health care and social assistance industries meanwhile have showed continuous healthy growth across the entire time period.

Earning a living wage

Jobs are only part of the story. What those jobs are paying is equally as important.

Since the turn of the millennium, private sector wages within the county have steadily risen, even during the recession.


Looking specifically at the county’s dominant industry, manufacturing, and using 2000 as a base year, there are 32.9 percent fewer manufacturing jobs in Macomb County, yet during the same time period, wages grew 29.7 percent. Manufacturing in Macomb and as an industry is becoming more automated, where the value per hour worked has increased, yet the manpower needed to accomplish tasks has decreased.


Those who have jobs in manufacturing are finding them to be lucrative opportunities. The average weekly wage in manufacturing in Macomb is now $1,430 per week. This is 49.2 percent higher than the average for all private sector jobs in the county of $958 per week.

What does it all mean?

While there are certainly no guarantees, the data seem to make a case for the following: Manufacturing will continue to be the bedrock of Macomb County’s economy, and wages within that industry are likely to continue to rise. Job growth may slow, but the days of double digit unemployment from 2009 – 2011 are clearly a thing of the past and not likely to return in the short or medium turn.

Economists with Economic Modeling Specialists Intl (EMSI) predict the employment within the county to grow to 360,658 by 2025. Over the next 10 years, their models show Macomb growing payroll by 4.6 percent while the state of Michigan sees a 6.0 percent growth.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a Senior Planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business & Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at

Hot Jobs in Macomb: What’s in demand in Macomb County?

Good news for job seekers: In Macomb County there were 49,949 total job postings in January 2016 representing 13,553 unique jobs. (Source: EMSI’s proprietary job postings data.) These numbers indicate a posting intensity of 3.68-to-1, meaning that for every available position there were 3.68 job postings for it.

Heavy and Tractor Truck drivers are most in demand with companies looking to fill 2,334 unique positions. The average wage for this group in the county is currently $18.79/hour.

Registered nurses were the highest posting intensity, with 7.16 job posts for each job available, implying strong demand.

See the chart for the most in demand jobs.


Are you looking for work, or do you know someone who is? Head on over to the Michigan Talent bank at or reach out to the local Michigan Works! office.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a Senior Planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business & Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at

Macomb County growing and cultivating talent

Macomb County has been swimming against the tide of a statewide trend since 2000. Michigan’s loss has been Macomb’s gain.

Flash back to 2000. Macomb County’s population was 788,149. Fast forward 16 years to present day, and it currently sits at 865,570. A growth of 77,421 people (+9.8%) may not seem notable, but this occurred during a time when Michigan was losing population. In 2000, Michigan stood at 9,938,444 residents. Today that number has dwindled to 9,883,640, a drop of 54,804 people (-0.6%) which, without Macomb County, would have been a 132,225 drop. For perspective, that would be a bigger loss than losing every resident in the entire city of Lansing or Ann Arbor.

Most recently, Macomb County is growing at a pace of about 19 people per day. Given that the average household size in the county is 2.50 people, you could leave town for a three-day weekend on a Friday and come home on a Sunday to 23 new and occupied single family homes on your street. Imagine that kind of growth for the past 16 years and suddenly Hall Road makes sense.

Why is Macomb County different?

Given such a large sample size of time and population changes, Macomb County bucking the state’s trend signifies something stronger than chance. Residents are finding something in Macomb that they aren’t finding elsewhere across Michigan. A key area to look could be Macomb’s strong economy, deep pool of talent and high quality of life.

Macomb County’s workforce is becoming better educated. From 2000-2010, the number of those with associate’s degrees climbed by 1.2%,  bachelor’s degrees increased by 2.3%, graduate and professional degrees increased 1.9%, while those who did not graduate high school dropped by 4.6%.

Our workforce is gaining young professionals. From 2000-2010, those aged 10-24 accounted for 15,431 (20%) of Macomb County’s population growth. Six years later now in 2016, this age group is beginning their careers in the county.

Macomb County is affordable. The average price of a home in Macomb County is $139,500, compared to $199,600 in Oakland County. When factoring in median household income –- $53,870 in Macomb County (which is 12% higher than that of Michigan ($48,308)) – and $65,637 in Oakland shows that the cost of a home in Macomb County is 2.58 times the average annual income compared to 3.04 times in Oakland County. This doesn’t even account for property tax rates, which are much lower in Macomb.

On top of this, Macomb County is desirable. With 31 miles of coastline along Lake St. Clair, roughly 30 golf courses, orchards, blue ribbon schools and abundant retail, many are pleased to call Macomb their home.  Building permits hit a rock bottom of 346 in 2009 but have since averaged 1,835 per year from 2013-2015. The number of permits for multi-family housing was the highest in 2015 it has been since the new millennium (669).

What’s driving this growth? A thirst for talent.

Macomb County is experiencing job growth in a number of high paying fields.

Largest growth by total jobs:


Top 10 growth by highest wage:


Most current openings:


What does this mean for the future?

While the county’s auto rebound has been profound, the demand for services has been equally as impactful. Hall Road and Gratiot are bursting with new retail. Lakeside Mall has anchored Hall since the 1970s, but Partridge Creek opened within the last decade and Macomb Mall has undergone 8-figures worth of enhancements. A new premium outlet mall is planned at Hall Road and I-94 to attract shoppers not just within the county, but from all across the region. Coupled with a new independent league baseball stadium and a revamped Freedom Hill, Macomb County is becoming a regional destination.

These major investments are enhancing the quality of life within the community and encouraging local upgrades. Kroger has opened new mega stores, bringing in celebrities and offering perks such as personal shopping. Emagine Theatres chose Macomb for a new state-of-the-art multiplex. New breweries and restaurants are opening up all across the county, bringing with them career opportunities, a higher quality of life and a stronger quality of place.

These are exciting times for Macomb County.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a Senior Planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business & Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at

Employers hiring for top jobs feeling the pressure: Part 1 of 2

Originally published in Crain’s Detroit Business on December 8, 2015

Southeast Michigan workers are benefiting from strong employer demand, which is at a record high following the Great Recession, but employers are having trouble finding the talent they need for success.

In quarter three (Q3) 2015, the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) found that regional employers posted over 137,500 online job ads—a 12.5 percent increase over the previous quarter, and a 60.1 percent increase compared to the same quarter one year ago. For more information, see WIN’s recently released quarter three labor market reports.

While demand for workers has continued to increase for over a year, the lack of aligned worker supply has employers struggling to fill many key open positions. This is in part because the labor force in in southeast Michigan (and the rest of the nation) plummeted during the recession but has failed to recover. Workers have either retired, decided to go back to school/stay in school longer, or otherwise stopped looking for traditional employment. Another reason is that there are simply not enough workers with education and skills that match top-demand occupations.

Some jobs feel the pinch of these dynamics more than others. The supply-and-demand occupation report from Career Builder includes a hiring indicator measuring labor pressure, which determines the difficulty of recruiting for a particular occupation in a specific location compared to all other occupations and locations.[1] Just six of the top 25 of the top in-demand occupations in southeast Michigan had a rating high enough for recruiting to be considered moderately easy or better, meaning that 19 of the remaining top 25 are difficult to hire for. Below are a few examples of the labor pressure metric, highlighting three of the top jobs in southeast Michigan. NOTE: The Career Builder tool examines the ratio of job postings and jobseekers using paid online job ads only.

truck driverssecretariesMech engineersMech engineers (1)

A hiring indicator score in the yellow or red area signals that the occupation is experiencing more hiring difficulty than an occupation with a number in the green. Secretaries and administrative assistants have a hiring indicator of 84, meaning that 84% of all other occupations and locations have more difficulty recruiting talent. In contrast, truck drivers have a hiring indicator of 21, meaning that just 21% of all other occupations and locations have more difficulty recruiting. Nine of the top jobs in southeast Michigan, highlighted in WIN’s Q3 2015 report, had a hiring indicator score lower than 50, signaling that recruiting for these positions was relatively difficult in southeast Michigan compared to all other occupations.

Labor Pressure Q3 2015The table below highlights the labor pressure detail for the top 25 posted jobs in southeast Michigan during Q3 2015.

Hiring for the top in-demand jobs in southeast Michigan may be made more difficult for several reasons, including technical skill and higher qualification requirements. For example, two-thirds of the top 25 occupations during Q3 2015 required a bachelor’s degree, a credential that just one-fourth of Michiganders hold. Of the six occupations with relative ease in recruiting, just one—sales representatives, non-technical non-scientific products—required a bachelor’s degree.

Quarter three is historically when employment and employer demand peaks for many counties in southeast Michigan, and the data collected often points to upcoming trends. In this case, anticipated trends include continuously high and growing employer demand and relatively low labor force participation. Should the labor force in southeast Michigan (and the nation, for that matter) continue to maintain lower education levels and a mismatch in technical skills and experiences, employers will continue to have difficulty finding talent to fill their open positions and employment growth with slow.

***The follow-up blog in this series will dive deeper into the educational attainment and training requirements of the top jobs in the region.

This blog was developed with data and research compiled by Hector Acosta, research and data analyst at WIN.

[1] The hiring indicator score is calculated using data from CareerBuilder, a third party aggregator, and Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl (EMSI).