University of Michigan economists will release Oakland County’s three-year economic outlook on Wednesday detailing how the county is forecasted to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each year, Dr. Gabe Ehrlich and Donald Grimes join with the county executive to discuss the comprehensive outlook report, which includes indicators for future job growth across all industries as well as local, national, and international factors that will impact the county’s overall economic growth and vitality of its business community.
On Wednesday, County Executive Dave Coulter will detail the 2021-2023 outlook’s findings alongside Ehrlich and Grimes during a virtual presentation. As the details are announced, the county will also simultaneously host two watch events for the business community, one for small business owners in Birmingham and one for manufacturers in Troy.
In September, the county’s 2020-2022 economic outlook was released, which was delayed due to the pandemic. The county’s economic outlook is usually released in the spring.
At that time, Ehrlich and Grimes said there were two main factors that would influence the rate at which Oakland County’s economy recovers from the pandemic, including the overall course of the pandemic, including when vaccinations would begin, and how much additional federal relief would be coming the county’s way.
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“To be really clear, we are looking at a really difficult situation if we don’t have more federal support for state and local governments,” said Ehrlich in September.
According to the 2020-2022 economic outlook, Oakland County was forecasted to see a 9.1 percent decrease in the number of total jobs in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic (678,026 vs. 746,103), but had seen an “impressive” rebound by “historical standards.”
Ehrlich, director of The University of Michigan’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, recently said that when crafting economic forecasts during the pandemic, it has been important to stay humble and speak with experts in other fields as economic forecasts are being produced.
“COVID-19 has been different from anything I had seen previously in my career, and we have had our share of misses to go along with our hits in this period,” he said. “We give it our best shot to see the future, but there are a lot of clouds still out there…We have absolutely had to look at the economy through many more lenses since the pandemic began.”
Oakland County experienced a significant decline in the total amount of foreign and domestic private investment in 2020 compared to previous years.
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On May 21, State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks, State Budget Director Dave Massaron, Senate Fiscal Agency Director Chris Harkins and House Fiscal Agency Director Mary Ann Cleary reached consensus on revised economic and revenue figures for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2021 and for the upcoming 2022 and 2023 fiscal years.
Compared to the January consensus revenue estimates, the overall revenue forecast for the state’s General Fund and School Aid Budget, combined, was $3.5 billion higher than previously forecasted. During the height of the pandemic, state officials were forecasting a $3 billion revenue deficit for fiscal year 2021.
Those officials are now expecting the state’s largest baseline revenue growth in nearly 20 years at 9.7 percent. The roughly $18 billion in federal American Rescue Plan dollars coming the state’s way helped to bolster these new revenue forecasts with the dollars eligible for use through December 2024.
“The federal stimulus programs have continued to benefit our economy, producing a tremendous boost to our state’s future economic outlook and revenue picture,” said Eubanks.
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For the first time in 16 years, Oakland County’s three-year budget did not receive a unanimous vote from the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.
Oakland County is slated to receive around $244.27 million in federal American Rescue Plan dollars to assist with its pandemic response and recovery efforts. Communities across the county will also be receiving millions in direct assistance from the American Rescue Plan.
Michigan State government will be receiving around $6.5 billion in American Rescue Plan assistance. An additional $644.2 million will be distributed to the state’s non-entitlement cites, villages and townships (under 50,000 residents), $1.82 billion will be split among 49 metropolitan cities (over 50,000 residents), and $1.93 billion will be distributed to the state’s 83 counties.
In addition, billions more will be coming the state’s way to support K-12 schools.