Last year, economists were talking about the Great Recovery.
This year, innovation was the buzzword that fueled the conversation at the Chamber Alliance of Macomb County’s economic forecast on Friday at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township.
“We bounced back,” said Vicky Rowsinski, director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) and one of many panelists weighing in on the county’s economic forecast. “But now we’re innovating for the future and focusing on ideas that go in that direction.”
Eric Dietz, president of the southeast Michigan region for Huntington Banks, which has expanded its footprint in the county to include 40 branches, was also on the panel for the annual economic forecast and provided an overview.
“I feel really good working here,” said Dietz, who began by talking about the rise in the country’s GDP (gross domestic product), which is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced during a given period. After a halt at the start of the pandemic, economists saw GDP rise 5.7% in 2021. “Then again, there was nowhere to go but up,” Dietz said. “This year it has increased by 3.5% and although it seems like a small increase, the fact that it continues to increase is a good thing.
Consumer and retail spending also rose 4.9%.
Among the issues of concern are stocks, commodities and home sales. Dietz said that although there are new homes being built, there is still a shortage and that is keeping prices high.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not expected to derail the ongoing recovery, but it is another issue that has impacted gas prices and financial markets around the world, including companies in the Michigan who have interests in Europe. And when gas prices are high, people don’t travel, which hampers the recovery of tourism and entertainment, nor do they have the extra cash to spend on things outside of their budget. normal.
Looking ahead, manufacturing continues to play a key role in the county’s economic future.
This is on the condition that its small businesses are able to make the necessary transition to the innovation revolution.
Thomas Alongi, CPA with over 20 years of experience and global automotive partner/leader for UHY Advisors in Sterling Heights, reiterated the need for Macomb County to be ready for the vehicle industry electrical.
This includes the transition of suppliers from the internal combustion engine to the electric motor.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said that was one of his concerns.
“We can’t tell them what to do, but we try to give them the information they need to make those transitions,” he said.
Another concern is the county’s aging workforce.
There are currently 281,908 inhabitants aged over 55 and 172,900 aged 25-39. Over the next 10 to 20 years, unless the county finds ways to keep its younger workforce here and attract new talent, there will be a huge void created by the wave of departures from the retirement of baby boomers.
“Workforce attraction and retention are key,” Rowinski said, along with more educational programs that provide new opportunities for workers who might leave existing jobs like Future Frontliners and the Michigan Reconnect Program.
Also on the Ahmad Ezzeddine panel at Wayne State University.