Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Business As Usual people are optimistic about Oakland County

I started this month with a good news post based on a press release that assumed Business as Usual (BAU) will return. I may as well close out the month with a post based on another optimistic BAU press release, this time from one of my alma maters.
University of Michigan: Oakland economy is in the early stages of sustained recovery
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—After posting modest job losses last calendar year following an abysmal 2009, the Oakland County economy should add nearly 29,000 jobs over the next three years—the best years since 2000, say University of Michigan economists.
That looks really good, doesn't it?
In their annual forecast of the Oakland County economy, George Fulton and Don Grimes of the U-M Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy say that Oakland will add nearly 11,000 jobs this year, another 8,000 next year and more than 9,700 in 2013.
This year looks like the best of the three and next year the worst of the three. If you're a politician up for re-election in 2012, that may not be the best news, but at least the projection isn't for job losses that year, either.
Last calendar year, Oakland County lost less than 1,200 jobs after losing nearly 60,000 jobs in 2009, and is currently adding jobs—the majority in sectors most tied to the New Economy.
Now does adding 29,000 jobs in three years look that good? Not when you realize that more than twice as many were lost in one year.

Even so, the good news continues
"The resurgence in the Oakland County economy appears to be no fluke, not related to any unusual events, but rather is backed by improvements in the U.S. economy, a reborn auto industry and the county's still-strong economic fundamentals and forward-looking policy initiatives," Fulton said. "Although the recovery is slower than what we've seen in the most recent expansions—a trend we also anticipate for the nation as a whole—we do see the county economy as being on an upward and sustained growth trajectory.
Until the start of the Great Recession, Oakland County was consistently among the ten richest counties in the country. It isn't any more, although it's still the wealthiest county in the state. Looks like things are reverting to the mean, which means climbing back up the rankings.
Despite the economic difficulties of the past decade, Oakland County still remains among the premier local economies in the country, with its coveted AAA bond rating and high ranking among 33 comparable counties in the United States on a series of measures that indicate future economic prosperity.

"Oakland ranks 8th overall—an impressive standing, especially considering that a number of these counties house some of the most thriving local economies in the nation," Grimes said. "This is even more impressive in light of Oakland's location within the state that has become notorious for its recent position near the bottom of the economic barrel.

"It is clear that whether we assess Oakland County with respect to how it is positioned in key economic fundamentals across all regions of the United States, or more restrictively here among its peers, there are few local economies with a more favorable composite profile for succeeding in the New Economy."
See, I told you, climbing back up the rankings.
Speaking of good news, is there any more?
"The net gain in jobs forecast over the next three years (including 2011), however, indicates only that the broad decline in employment has ended. It does not mean that the economy is back to normal. For many residents, the economic struggles will continue."
And who are the ones most likely to struggle, in addition to the long-term unemployed?
While the private sector in Oakland County will post job gains over the next three years,
Nearly 31,000 in fact.
jobs in the government sector, which includes public schools and local government administration, will continue to shrink, with more than 2,000 jobs lost through 2013. Nearly 70 percent of these losses will occur this year.
Remember I said that slow growth might harm the chances of any politician up for election next year? There are some politicians who public sector employees don't care for already who might be up for re-election, after a fashion, this year. Watch the following clip from WOOD-TV.

A longshot effort to recall Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder can begin collecting signatures aimed at getting the measure on the ballot.

ETA: Also watch the following clips from WXYZ-TV.

Hundreds protest as Governor Snyder delivers address

As I've written before: "Business as usual? Not quite."

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