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Macomb County Economic Forecast Is Cautiously Optimistic

Macomb County economic forecast is cautiously optimistic

Macomb County economic forecast is cautiously optimistic

Thomas Alongi of UGY accounting firm makes a point while panelists Brian Parthum of SEMCOG and Brooke Kircher, regional director of Huntington Bank, look on at Friday’s Macomb County Economic forum. (DAVID DALTON — For The Macomb Daily) Panelists at Friday’s Macomb County 2023 economic forecast event said they are cautiously optimistic that growth will continue, but possibly at a slower pace than what has been seen in recent years. The Macomb County Chamber event was held at the Macomb Community College South Campus in Warren and featured speakers from public and private sectors of the economic industry. The COVID pandemic and the supply chain issues it created spurred a move to “reshore” manufacturing to the United States. Manufacturing is one of Macomb County’s biggest areas of economic growth, a trend that is expected to continue for at least seven years. Retired MCC president Jim Jacobs, who founded the annual event, makes a point while a county Clerk Tony Forlini and an unidentified woman listen Friday.(DAVID DALTON — For The Macomb Daily) “Manufacturing has been on a 20-year decline and now that is reversing course,” said Thomas Alongi, managing director at UHY LLP certified public accountants in Sterling Heights. “Reshoring activity creates more jobs and I think you are going to see a lot more activity in this area.” It is probably no surprise given the manufacturing resurgence, industries that support manufacturing, such as logistics and distribution, are also predicted to grow. Earlier this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that Home Depot would build a new, high-tech regional distribution center in Warren. According to economic forecast panelists, Macomb County is expected to see much more growth in these areas. That includes industries that support the electric vehicle industry. “When EVs become mature is probably 25 to 30 years from now, but the growth opportunity is amazing,” said Alongi. “We spend a lot of time with clients talking about where their processes can fit not only in electrification but other industries. “When you think of thermal management and things like that, there just isn’t a supply chain built for a lot of these things.” Another indicator Macomb County could manage through a recession better than some other communities is its diversification into other industries besides automotive. Macomb County is home to many automotive facilities including the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly plant and the Stellantis Warren Truck Assembly plant. But drawing companies involved with aerospace, the defense industry – represented by Selfridge Air Force Base in Harrison Township and the U.S. Army TACOM facility in Warren – robotics, and logistics will help Macomb County weather future economic storms. “Each industry has cycles, but the cycles of defense and aerospace are not as dramatic as those in the automotive industry,” said Vicky Rowinski, Macomb County Director of Planning and Development. “This creates a sustainability model for a lot of our manufacturing and engineering firms that have completely jumped ship from automotive and into aerospace and defense.” Rowinski talked about the recent closing of the 2-million square foot Romeo Ford Engine Plant in 2022 and weighing the best scenario for redeveloping that property. “We are getting requests from developers looking to make a pretty significant footprint in the county,” said Rowinski. “We have to ask ourselves if we want to put all of our eggs in one basket and make that one particular industry, or do we want to look at diversification where it could be sustainable for long-term use.” She pointed out Macomb County is seeing a great amount of growth in distribution connected to industries that already have a foothold here. “The distribution center Home Depot is building in Warren is a prime example of major distribution hubs creating really good-paying jobs,” said Rowinski. “When Amazon came in, they were paying $15 an hour and now you’ve got Home Depot paying in the mid 20s. “These are great sustainable jobs that help the county to have a great diversified portfolio of industrial uses.” Rowinski said truck drivers continue to be in extremely high demand in Macomb County and across the nation. “That is a job that is not going away until we can figure out how to automate it,” said Rowinski. She also said many Macomb County farms are using automation and have opted to distribute their products themselves. “There is a lot of that automation technology going into these farms and we are seeing a lot of farmers moving from being only a food […]

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Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

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