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Oakland County’s economic engines to continue to roar back

Nearly 42,000 new jobs.

That’s the total of new jobs Oakland County expects to add through 2015, according to University of Michigan economists George Fulton and Don Grimes. To break it out, the county will add 11,600 jobs this year, 13,300 next year and 16,700 in 2015.

But what kinds of jobs will they be? Let’s take a look.

According to the forecast, the private service-providing sector will add 35,000 jobs through 2015.

  • 15,500 new jobs are anticipated in professional and business services sector (not limited to jobs like corporate managers/executives, employment services, computer systems and managers as well as engineers) which is the lion’s share of the gains at more than 40%.

  • The next growth sector is health (doctors, nurses, and related fields) with 5,300 new jobs … and the same number is predicted for wholesale and retail.

  • Finishing out the report are the leisure and hospitality sector with 4,100 new jobs and 2,300 in finance, insurance and real estate.

In the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction, Fulton and Grimes predict jobs gains of nearly 7,000 over the next three years. About 4,100 jobs will be added in manufacturing, including 1,400 in motor vehicle manufacturing and 2,700 in construction.

“Oakland’s recovery is becoming as remarkable as the retrenchment that preceded it,” said University of Michigan economist George Fulton. “Since the recession’s low point at the end of 2009, the recovery has been red-hot with a growth rate averaging 3.8 percent per year in 2011 and 2012. We see the continuation of a solid recovery through 2015, extending its span to six years, but with job growth moderating from its sizzling pace of the past two years.”

This all means Oakland County will have brought back 62% of the jobs lost from a very grim period of about nine years starting in the summer of 2000, according to the economists. Half of the job gains have been in industries that provide what’s called “high paying” opportunities, or ones that average more than $62,000 per year in salary.

“This is good progress, indeed, but it leaves some ground to make up,” Fulton said. “The county, however, is especially noteworthy for its share of residents employed in professional and managerial occupations and for its residents’ high level of education, both of which bode well for future growth opportunities in higher-paid activities.”

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