Macomb County ranks atop all U.S. counties in the number of manufacturing job gained over the past two years, according to new numbers released by the White House.
President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors issued an employment report that found Macomb gained 9,118 manufacturing jobs from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2018.
“A few short years ago, many people doubted the future of manufacturing in the United States. Here in Macomb, we held firm in the belief that our manufacturers would remain a key driver of economic prosperity,” said County Executive Mark Hackel.
The county’s specialties consist mostly of auto-related manufacturing and defense contracts for the Pentagon. Overall, the county is home to 1,600 manufacturing companies that employ more than 74,000 people.
Other Michigan counties that made the national Top 40 list were Kent County (15th), Wayne County (20th) and Oakland County (28th).
The good news for Michigan comes at the same time as warnings from economists that U.S. manufacturing employment gains represent a small boost in jobs compared to the pre-recession levels of more than a dozen years ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the manufacturing sector saw positive gains for the fourth quarter of 2018, with a 1.3 percent increase in productivity, a 2.3 percent increase in output and a 1 percent increase in hours worked.
Macomb County officials credit their Department of Planning and Economic Development for providing businesses with assistance in finding a new location, engaging in job training, securing government contracts, and expanding their reach into export sales.
Over the past five years, department staff provided service to more than 146 existing and incoming companies, and those companies invested more than $1.4 billion in new facilities and equipment. Currently, the county has more than 1,100 job openings in the manufacturing sector.
“The manufacturing industry is more prepared than ever to meet the needs of consumers and develop some of the most advanced products we have ever seen,” said Vicky Rad, interim director of the economic development department. “Our world class network of manufacturers is leveraging advanced technologies and cultivating a ‘new collar’ workforce.”
Meanwhile, the nationwide list of leading counties in manufacturing clearly demonstrates a growing trend. Of the Top 20, only five are located in the Upper Midwest, the Rustbelt, and three of those are in Michigan. In comparison, the Top 20 includes four counties each from California and Texas.