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Chamber report says Metro Detroit gaining ground

From The Detroit News

By Louis Aguilar

Dec. 9, 2015

Metro Detroit continues to gain economic ground with other metropolitan regions of similar size, according to an annual report released by the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The Chamber released its second annual State of the Region report Wednesday, which compares Metro Detroit economic data to regions with similar population. It also announced a new initiative called Forward Detroit.

“The domestic automotive industry is surging and the Detroit bankruptcy is in the rearview mirror,” Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah said in a written statement. “Capitalizing on this unique moment in time and sustaining our momentum requires a regionally focused strategy that transcends politics.

“However, that momentum is starting to slow and we need to prepare as a region for what comes next. There’s a lot to celebrate, but given the region’s long-term deficit of economic growth, normal levels are not enough.”

The report includes data on key economic indicators for the 11-county region that is home to 5.4 million people and more than 300,000 businesses, including 13 Fortune 500 companies. Highlights of the report:

  • Between 2009 and 2014, Metro Detroit’s gross domestic product growth outpaced the national average by 7.7 percent.
  • Private sector job growth outpaced the national average by 4.4 percentage points since 2009.
  • In 2013, the Detroit MSA was awarded 3,000 utility patents, the most ever in a single year for the region.
  • The region’s industrial vacancy rates have declined 6.9 percentage points since 2010 and are now on par with the national average.
  • Detroit led its peer regions in median home value growth at 13.2 percent between 2013 and 2014.
  • In 2014, 109 foreign-held companies announced investment of nearly $3.9 billion in Michigan facilities, creating 15,000 jobs.

The chamber also announce a plan to raise $20 million for its new Forward Detroit program. The chamber aims to provide a forum for various local leaders to collaborate on pro-growth policies and advocacy programs.

“Focusing on five pillars — Business, Talent, People, Community, and Global Connectivity — the chamber will seek to help the region achieve long-term prosperity,” Baruah said.