Department seeks Manufacturing Day hosts and sponsors

MFG Day 2016 AOne of the goals of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development is to strengthen the county’s workforce by exposing the next generation to a wide range of in-demand career opportunities. Our efforts continue to grow and are demonstrated through a variety of different programs, one of which is Manufacturing Day.

National Manufacturing Day is an initiative that gives manufacturers the opportunity to open their doors to show the public how advanced the industry has become. Our department first participated in 2013 when Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel led the media on a tour of local plants that culminated with a roundtable discussion with area manufacturers.

It was at this event that we learned that one of the greatest concerns of manufacturers is the need for talent. We also learned that there was a concern about the number of young people who were exposed to the industry and the interesting and well-paying careers that it offers.

MFG Day 2016 BHearing this, department staff collaborated with the Macomb Intermediate School District to get students from every high school on buses and into local plants to see the industry in action. Since 2014, more than 5,500 students have participated.

Plans are underway for the next Manufacturing Day which will be held Friday, Oct. 6. The department seeks area manufacturers who are willing to host tours for students and sponsors to help cover event expenses. To learn more, visit www.MacombBusiness.com/mfgday.

Zardis, Maria IMG_0089Maria Zardis is the program manager of the Business Outreach and Communications Group for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 posavetz@macombgov.org

Plenty to celebrate: Macomb County driving auto industry success

NAIASind.JPGMore than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries will come to Metro Detroit and attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this year, exposing our automakers and suppliers at the NAIAS to greater global visibility.

Macomb County has established itself as a premier location for the resurgence of the U.S. automotive industry. Last year, the county ranked third in the nation for manufacturing job growth. As the NAIAS is set to take place this month at the freshly renovated Cobo Convention Center, there is reason to celebrate.

Since 2010, through 109 separate investments greater than $1 million, the auto industry has invested more than $5.3 billion in Macomb County. These investments and commitments made in Macomb County are paying dividends for the automakers. U.S. new-car sales continued showing growth December resulting in automakers reporting their highest annual sales ever, speeding past the previous record that was set before the recession began back in 2000.

These refinements in facilities and operations have led to substantial gains in new car sales. This past year, U.S. automakers reported their highest annual sales ever, speeding past previous records that were set back in 2000. Industry analysts estimate 17.5 million vehicles were sold in 2015, surpassing the 2000 record of 17.4 million. General Motors sold 3,082,366 vehicles, for a 5 percent gain. Fiat Chrysler posted a 12.6 percent annual gain to 2,200,834, pushing their sales gain streak to 69 straight months. Ford Motor Co. also reported their best December and sold 2,603,062 vehicles in 2015.

The “Big Three” (Ford, GM, Chrysler) employ more than 35,000 individuals within Macomb County, operating 10 facilities totaling more than 25 million square feet. Overall, in Macomb County the automotive industry is made up of nearly 500 companies that employ more than 44,000 individuals.

Not only are volumes increasing, but so are car prices. According to Kelley Blue Book, estimates for the average transaction climbed $297 (0.9%) from 2014 values to $34,428.

It’s not just the “Big Three” that are on display. Many of Macomb County’s automotive companies are celebrating the event. Axalta Coating Systems of Mount Clemens, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, is the presenting sponsor of the NAIAS Charity Preview, which is consistently the largest single-night fundraiser in the United States.

At the 2015 show, 55 vehicles made their worldwide debut, bringing the total to 1,467 premieres since the show began back in 1984. As show attendance continues to grow and U.S. auto sales are expected to break their all-time annual record, the 2016 event is expected to be a massive celebration of the automotive industry.

If you have never been, this is a great year to check it out. Even the Detroit Tigers will be on hand to marvel at our region’s innovation!

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 posavetz@macombgov.org.

Macomb manufacturing continues to grow with latest development

The largest development in Sterling Heights since Lakeside Mall was recently announced. Sunnybrook golf course, located along 17 Mile Road near Van Dyke, will be developed into a 144-acre state-of-the-art manufacturing site along with two new hotels. This news is exciting and continues to showcase how important manufacturing is to Macomb County’s economy.

While exciting, the fact that new manufacturing continues to grow in Macomb is not a surprise. This is a trend that has been clear since 2009. In fact, in 2014 Macomb County was third among all counties in the nation for manufacturing growth.

Manufacturing Jobs
Manufacturing jobs in Macomb County have rebounded since 2008

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel calls this development “another example of how this city and Macomb County are leading the greater Midwest as the hub of advanced manufacturing.”

This rings true across a number of statistics: More than 30,000 workers are engaged in R&D at 350 local labs and facilities, in a region that graduates roughly 12,000 engineers and science degrees annually. We are home to a full quarter of the world’s advanced manufacturing workforce. (Want to learn more? View our targeted industry brochure.)

Companies are seeing this and taking advantage of what Macomb has to offer. Major investments by long-time industry leaders are complemented by new investments from companies eager to tap Macomb County’s talent.

The outlook continues to be bright. The big three are seeing constant double digit growth. Rises in new orders and production are boosting the industry in the U.S.

Are you a manufacturer looking to grow or locate in Macomb County? Reach out to our economic development professionals. In 2014, clients of the department invested nearly a quarter billion dollars and created more than 1,600 new jobs.

Finally, if you’re worried about the state of golf in the county, fear not, for there are still ample great opportunities to get out and enjoy a round.

Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, providing content for the Macomb Business website. If you have a topic you would like to be featured, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.