Ann Arbor area's 25 largest companies employ a quarter of the region's workforce
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com file photo
SPARK’s numbers, as of January 2013, show that the top 25 companies in the region employed 54,802 workers. The most recent report from the DTMB estimated the area’s active workforce at 206,000.
There are no surprises at the top of the list. The University of Michigan and the U-M Health System once again lead the way as Washtenaw County’s largest employers with a combined workforce of 28,143, over half of the top 25’s total.
Michigan’s internal numbers place their employment numbers even higher. The most recent statistics available, from fall 2011, put the total between the two at nearly 44,000.
“We should continue to see overall growth in our system,” senior director of human resources Tim Wood said.
“We have the academic mission, research mission, and patient care mission. Research and patient care is where we see growth year to year because we’re adding continual support there.”
Wood said staffing levels at the university took a hit during the recession in 2008 but have experienced steady growth since 2009.
“We are always hiring even where we have some cost containment going on,” he said.
“Even on the health side there’s definitely a tightening up on hiring but there will still be some positions we’ll be hiring for About a third of our new hires come from Ann Arbor, another third from the broader Southeast Michigan area, and the last third are from other states and international hires.”
As the No. 2 and No. 3 employers in the county, Trinity Health and the University of Michigan Health System signed a master affiliation agreement in 2012. The companies say the deal will help them work together to determine the best place for each patient to receive treatment.
Eastern Michigan University joined the top five employers in the region in 2013. The very top companies account for a combined 39,001 jobs.
“With over 23,000 students and 2,000 employees, we take seriously our role in supporting the economic health of Ypsilanti and the entire county,” EMU director of community and government relations Leigh Greden said.
The university took the place of ACH-Saline which was dissolved in June 2012. Faurecia, the French company that purchased the automotive plant in Saline, employs 800 workers, according to SPARK, compared with the 2,300 who worked for ACH in 2012.
The former Edwards Brothers, Inc. leapfrogged Sheridan Books for that honor and established itself as the No. 20 employer in the area.
U-M, the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and DTE Energy are the only employers in the top 25 with a presence in Ann Arbor’s downtown core, and more than half the companies on the list operate outside of the city’s limits.
Downtown office space has been difficult to come by and extremely expensive, leading many of the largest employers in the area operate in the townships and cities that surround Ann Arbor.
The University of Michigan would be the city’s largest taxpayer as well as its top employer, but the university does not pay property taxes on land it owns in the city.
Note: It has been added that DTE Energy has a downtown presence in Ann Arbor. The article as originally published did not include the energy company in the list of entities downtown.
Ben Freed covers business for AnnArbor.com. You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2