Oakland County’s 2015 Business Investment ‘On Fire’

Six-Month Tally Tops 2014 Totals by Nearly $100 Million

Oakland County business investment through the first six months of 2015 is more than three quarters of a billion dollars – surpassing the total business investment for all of 2014 by nearly $100 million.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said via press release that the June Emerging Sectors® report revealed private business investment of more than $756.8 million through the first six months of 2015. Business expansion, attraction and retention investment for all of 2014 was $658.7 million, a difference of $98.1 million. The county tracks business activity connected to the Emerging Sectors business attraction and retention strategy as well as more traditional investments such as automotive.

“I encourage the citizens of Oakland County to take a look at those numbers,” Patterson said. “Our economy is on fire. We are roaring back from the ravages of the Great Recession. Our future looks blindingly bright.”

In June, Patterson reported Emerging Sectors total investment had topped $3 billion since the program began in 2004. It was created to diversify Oakland County’s economy, which had been heavily dependent on the automotive industry. The strategy targeted international companies that expressed an interest in expanding operations into North America and North American companies that identified Oakland County as the right business location. The targeted sectors include advanced electronics, advanced materials, alternative energy, information technology/communications, aerospace and defense/homeland security.

The June report lists businesses such as Canada-based Magna International Inc., Troy-based Energy Power Systems and Bmax USA, subsidiary of a French tech company called I-Pulse, among nine companies who announced total investment in the county of $145.4 million, resulting in more than 1,000 new jobs and 759 retained jobs. Magna projects in Lyon Township and Novi total $104 million in investment.

Since inception, Emerging Sectors has 346 business successes resulting in total investment of $3.1 billion; 35,689 new jobs and 20,062 retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country.

The county’s Business Development Team works closely with Emerging Sector companies, providing assistance in such areas as site selection, workforce development, financing strategies, and coordinating state and local incentives. The team literally travels the world selling businesses on the advantages of locating in Oakland County. The county has more than 1,000 global firms from 39 countries.

Patterson said economists may debate reasons for the investment surge this year but he has his own theories.

“First, pent-up demand that is now being served,” he said. “Second, our gamble on diversifying our economic base beyond automotive is paying off in spades. And finally, there is a term, ‘Cumulative Causation,’ which means success breeds success. We are all beneficiaries.”

The most successful sectors in total investment are health care/life science (Medical Main Street) at $978 million, IT/communications (Tech 248), at $620 million and alternative energy at $548.9 million.

Patterson said the strategy is responsible for new investment in the county, on average, of $772,000 every day for 11 years.

“If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Oakland County is the economic engine that drives the Michigan economy,” Patterson said.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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