Status and forecast for Michigan’s economic recovery – As presented at the 61st Annual Conference on the Economic Outlook

Michigan is expected to continue its jobs recovery for at least another two years, making six years in a row of job growth after a decade of jobs decline, said experts at the 61st Annual Conference on the Economic Outlook held on the U-M campus last week.

“Michigan is closing out 2013 with a healthy year of job growth, the second-largest gain in jobs over a year since as far back as 1999, and well in excess of the average yearly gains recorded from 1971 to 2000, prior to the extended downturn of the 2000s”, wrote Joan Crary, George Fulton and Donald Grimes, authors of The Michigan Economic Outlook for 2014-2015. “We are forecasting job growth to continue at a solid pace through 2015”, they said, expecting about 65,000 jobs to be added in 2014 and another 65,000 in 2015. To put this in context, they reported that the 79,600 job additions in 2013, and the 2014-2015 forecasts all exceed the average annual job gains from 1971 to 2000, which were 57,000 annually.

This is definitely good news, but they also pointed out that if one compares Michigan’s progress from the previous employment peak rather than from the most recent trough, “here the news is a little less cheerful”.

From Michigan’s peak employment in the spring of 2000, the state steadily lost a staggering 857,700 jobs until early 2010, when it began to recover. With the job gains already made through mid-2013 added to the author’s forecasts for 2014 and 2015, by the end of 2015 the state will have recovered a little less than half (48%) of the payroll jobs it lost in the 2000-2010 decade.

Michigan’s unemployment stood at 9 percent at the end of 2012, and one would hope that this jobs growth news might lower the state’s unemployment rate, and the authors confirmed this with their unemployment forecast. “We anticipate that the unemployment rate will nudge down to average 8.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, and then move down further to 7.9 percent at the end of 2014 and 7 percent at the close of 2015, at which point it will be one percentage point above the 6 percent rate we are forecasting for the nation.”

Original study located here.