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2011 Economic Luncheon promises long-term growth ahead for Oakland County

Oakland County is predicted to add almost 29,000 jobs in the next three years, giving it the best years of job growth since 2000, according to University of Michigan economists. Dr. George Fulton and Donald Grimes of the UM Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy, told more than 600 people at the county's Economic Outlook Luncheon the county's economy is on an upward swing and sustained growth trajectory. The event was held April 28 at the Troy Marriott.

"The anticipated recovery is as remarkable as the decline that preceded it," Fulton said. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said the report was welcomed, especially after 2009 -- the worst economic year in the county's history -- when almost 60,000 jobs were lost in Oakland County during the calendar year.

"Finally," Patterson said. "Some damn good news to celebrate. These are respected economists who are calling Oakland County's recovery remarkable. I agree. I'm delighted with the speed and strength of our recovery and the jobs we'll be adding in the next three years. I'm excited about the upward trajectory."

Fulton and Grimes said Oakland County's fundamental strengths and focus in the areas of professional services, technology and health services are in sync with the evolving New Economy. They concluded the county was in the early stages of a sustained recovery. They predicted the county will add 10,908 jobs in 2011; 8,012 in 2012 and 9,729 in 2013.

"This return to stability after the trauma of being on emergency life support is one of the region's biggest business stories of the year, and has spillover effects throughout much of the rest of the local economy," Fulton said.

The economists cautioned that unemployment rates, rising gas prices, the after effects to the motor vehicle industry of the Japanese disaster and financial challenges for local governments could impact the local economy. Despite the challenges, they agreed Oakland County is well-prepared for the long term.

"There are few local economies in the United States with a more favorable composite profile for succeeding in the New Economy," Fulton said. "One can imagine scenarios where Oakland is less successful in the near term than what we foresee, but it is hard not to see the county thriving in the long term."
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