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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Featured Article, Summer 2013

Macomb’s Economic Rebound

The Great Recession has had a profound impact on Macomb County.

For decades, Macomb County grew its economy as a manufacturing hub. The talent and infrastructure cultivated from generations of investment resulted in more than 100,000 workers employed in the manufacturing industry in Macomb County.
That success brought the American dream to Macomb County.  In 1999, more than 427,000 Macomb County residents were working. In the first year of the new century, there were only 15,000 unemployed workers and the unemployment rate was 3.6%.

Fast forward to 2009. Unemployment reached a peak in Macomb of 75,000. Nearly one in five (17.9%) workers was unemployed. As the manufacturing industry underwent trauma nationwide, the dominance of the industry in Macomb County made the county ground zero during the recession of the first decade of the new millennium.

In 2009 the recession began to subside. Manufacturing jobs started to make a rebound both locally and nationally. The industry that defined Macomb was growing again. With the dominant industry recovering, Macomb has the opportunity to be the spark that reignites the regional economy.

The recovery is spilling over into Macomb County’s other sectors. County businesses are once again creating jobs. More than 5,000 new jobs were created in the previous year. Forecasts by economists (with a track record of being very close to actual outcomes) suggest the county will see more than 15,000 new jobs by 2015. Numerous economic barometers such as the Michigan Purchasing Managers Index and Consumer Confidence Level are pointing towards positive growth as well. 

Though it will take some time to replace the number of jobs lost during the recession, the trends and indicators are all pointing toward positive growth. The recession did not occur overnight, nor will the recovery.

The economic rebound is good news for more than just those looking for a new job. Those who managed to remain employed will also see a brighter future. Wages for all workers in the county are rebounding. Looking beyond the seasonal fluctuations in wages present in most job markets, wages are again trending upward.

More jobs and higher wages mean good news for Macomb County. Positive effects of this should present themselves in the form of rebounding home prices and greater retail sales. As Macomb continues its upward economic pace, its future looks bright.

The Michigan Labor Market Information website is your one-stop source for reliable information on recent employment trends, wages, detailed industries and jobs in demand.  It also is a great source of economic information on Michigan regions and counties.