Oakland County unemployment rate at lowest level since 2000

Oakland County’s unemployment rate in April was 3.0 percent – more than a point under the national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent and the lowest it has been in the county since December 2000.

The one-month decline in the number of unemployed county residents from March to April was 25,055 to 19,650 – a reduction of 21.6 percent, according to the most recent figures issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Oakland County had a civilian workforce of more than 652,000 in April and of that number, 632,448 people were employed – the highest number since 2001.

“This impressive decline in the unemployment rate is a clear indication that Oakland County’s economy continues to improve and that domestic and global companies remain committed to investing in the county,” Economic Development Director Irene Spanos said last Friday. “Since January, the county has realized domestic and international investment of more than $274 million, which translates to 6,200 new and retained jobs. From 2014-16, the county saw investment totaling $2.4 billion – with $872 million of that coming from international companies.”

Bureau figures list Michigan’s unemployment rate for April at 3.7 percent and the Detroit-Warren-Livonia metropolitan statistical area at 4.0 percent. The state unemployment rate in March was 4.8 percent; the U.S. rate was 4.6 percent and Oakland County’s was 3.8 percent.

Spanos said the county’s improving economy was due in part to its Emerging Sectors® business attraction and retention strategy begun in 2004 by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson to offset the loss of manufacturing jobs. Since inception, the program is responsible for 442 successes resulting in more than $3.9 billion of investment, 43,297 new jobs and 27,947 retained jobs.

Emerging Sectors industry categories include Advanced Electronics & Power Generation, Advanced Materials, Aerospace; Communications & Information Technology, Homeland Security, Medical Main Street® and Robotics & Automation. A project is considered a success when a company either expanded an existing Oakland County facility when it had offers for competing sites in another state or opened new operations in the county.

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