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Posted on Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Thomson Reuters' growth makes firm Ann Arbor area's second largest private sector employer

By Nathan Bomey

Here's a telling way to reflect Thomson Reuters' influence in the Ann Arbor region's economy: The information services giant employs three times as many workers in Washtenaw County as Ann Arbor-based book store chain Borders.


Thomson Reuters in 2008 replaced the old "777" sign on its corporate facility on Eisenhower Parkway with its logo.

File photo |

Bolstered by a stable base of clients in the health care and accounting industries, Thomson Reuters has quietly turned into the county's second largest private employer, according to a recent analysis. The firm trails only Ford Motor Co.-controlled Automotive Components Holdings, which has 2,000 employees in Saline and 400 in Milan.

As the Ann Arbor region's economy enters a period of sustained job growth forecasted by University of Michigan economists, Thomson Reuters is "bullish" about its own growth prospects, said Jon Newpol, executive vice president in the firm's health care business.

"We feel very excited about the opportunities for the business," Newpol said in a rare interview about the company's local presence. "We feel like we're in growth segments."

Executives declined to offer specific hiring projections, but the company's resiliency during the global economic crisis underscores the firm's stability.

The firm said its health care business employs between 800 and 900 workers at the former 777 building on Eisenhower Parkway. The company's tax and accounting software business employs between 900 and 1,000 people at its division in Dexter.

Overall, that means the company today has anywhere from 50 to 250 more employees in Washtenaw County than it had at the height of the financial crisis in late 2008.

The company now employs close to the same number of workers that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer had here when it announced in 2007 that it would shutter its 2 million-square-foot Ann Arbor campus, displacing more than 2,100 employees.

Meanwhile, the company plans to add a legal services unit to its Ann Arbor operation, according to online job postings circulating in the legal community. Executives declined to discuss that operation, which would reportedly be part of the firm's Pangea3 unit, which Thomson Reuters acquired in 2010.

The company's health care and science unit reported 7 percent revenue growth in 2010, compared to 4 percent overall sales growth for the entire corporation.

Revenue for the division that consults with health care payers — that is, the insurance industry, Medicare and Medicaid — rose 13 percent in 2010. Revenue for the tax and accounting division rose 7 percent in 2010. The "workflow and service solutions" unit, which includes much of the Dexter office, reported 12 percent growth.

Jon Baron, president of Thomson Reuters' tax and accounting business in the Americas, said about 30 percent of his division's local hires are recent college graduates from this area. The company's services include software that helps clients navigate tax code.

In recent years, "we have not had a great deal of difficulty" hiring talented local people, Baron said. But, he said, "I anticipate that the area will rebound to some degree and frankly we'll have to spread out a little bit more in terms of our local hiring."

Baron said there are positive signs in the national accounting industry suggesting that the economy is slowing gaining momentum. That would boost demand for Thomson Reuters' services.

Meanwhile, Thomson Reuters' health care business is positioned to benefit from national health care reform. The company's consultants help clients reduce fraud, waste, abuse and inefficiencies in health care.

The company's key clients include state governments trying to reduce their Medicaid costs, for example, a service that is sure to be in high demand as states seek ways to slow the steep rise in health care costs. The firm also helps clients select health care plans and identify ways to improve and streamline health care delivery.

Newpol said the company looks to hire experts on specific segments of the health care industry, including people familiar with the flow of money involving insurance companies, the government, health care providers and patients.

"We look for good people wherever we can bring them in, but we do continue to have a heavy emphasis on the Washtenaw County area" for hiring, Newpol said. "Because of the talent pool and the universities, we are able to develop some significantly attractive hires for the organization."

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Tue, Mar 15, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

they r keeping people employed though


Mon, Mar 14, 2011 : 3:02 a.m.

@Technojunkie Actually, I think TR shuffles mostly data files - less paperwork, you know. Also, they like 'em cute and young, so if your resume looks, say, past your mid 30s - continue your search elsewhere.


Mon, Mar 14, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

to townie: here is an out of town company American Broach and Machine Companie ..owned by china and Toronto. just got a taxcredit of $ 572,782 over seven years ..per.....


Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

We've gone from a manufacturing economy to a paperwork processing economy. Real wealth to phony wealth. Corporatism at its finest. No, I'm not blaming TR for this, unless they lobby for this insanity that is. But most of the work they do shouldn't exist. Pass a simple federal tax plan, move back to relatively inexpensive catastrophic health insurance where you rarely need contact with insurance bureaucrats, those two things would wipe out hundreds of $billions in economic waste and TR with it. It won't happen, thus the weight of the overhead and the corruption it breeds keeps building until collapse.


Sun, Mar 13, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

You obviously have little understanding of what Thomson Reuters actually does in this area. The majority of it local employees are involved in the production of accounting software (an endeavor that is far from mere "paperwork processing"). If a simple federal tax plan were enacted, TR's local efforts would undoubtedly take a hit, but their software offerings go far beyond their tax-preparation applications. The accounting profession is involved in a lot more than tax returns; so too is Thomson Reuters' accounting software business.

Andrew Jason Clock

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

But where is the story about cutting 1/3 of its news room staff yesterday?

Tony Dearing

Sun, Mar 13, 2011 : 12:23 p.m.

@Somewhat, I appreciate your sentiments. People have told us from the beginning that they hope we succeed, and we are working very hard to make this successful. One thing we've heard from people is they find us unfocused, and they're not sure what we're trying to be. They want us to be more focused on news, and that's what we're responding to. Thanks for the thoughts.

Hot Dice

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

Clearly, the community is interested in this topic. I've read many recent articles about other layoffs in the area, yet your own are off-limits for reporting? Can we get an article? If not, I guess this will have to suffice: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Somewhat Concerned

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Tony, I applaud your intentions, but seems to be veering toward little more than blog posts written by semi-pro staff and puff pieces about local businesses. It's not even a lively blog spot because of the &quot;policies&quot; whereby interesting and controversial posts are deleted as violating some sort of rule about &quot;unsubstantiated claims&quot; (although people on staff can make such claims and often post things that are factually inaccurate) or personal attacks (when the experience or character of the person who is the subject of a story are relevant to your readers). If you want to make it through a third year, consider either investing in real reporting or opening up as a real blog. Being in between and good at neither seems unlikely to work forever. Ann Arbor needs good reporting or good blogging or both. I hope you make it by being one or the other. (Or both.)

Hot Dice

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

We want Edward Vielmetti! Signed, The Community


Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 5:53 p.m.

Ed Vielmetti was the real deal. I will miss his legitimate, credible, and often amusing writings on this site.

Tony Dearing

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

While personnel issues are an internal matter and we don't discuss them publicly, I can confirm that we reorganized our newsroom this week to put our focus more squarely on local news coverage. As a new organization, we have tried a lot of things. Now that we are well into our second year, the community has told us very resoundingly that what it wants most from us is hard news coverage, particularly in the areas of government, education, police, courts, health, the environment, University of Michigan sports, and business. These areas of coverage account for all but a tiny percentage of our readership and revenue. Meanwhile, we also have put a lot of effort toward other things -- including lifestyle topics like Passions and Pursuits, The Deuce, Homes and some areas of Entertainment coverage -- that our community has shown much less interest in, and we are scaling back in those areas. We have made tremendous progress since we launched, and we continue to be very happy with the growth we're seeing in audience and revenue. But from the beginning, we said that we would be shaped by what the community wants, and the community wants us to focus more sharply on local news reporting. We have repositioned ourselves to throw our energy and resources into our local news coverage and that is how we will operate moving forward as we continue to grow.


Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Nathan - it might be worth mentioning that TR is a Canadian company and that's where the profits go. Medstat was the original startup and was sold to Thomson many years ago. Might make a good article to look at the number of local companies that are now owned by entities outside the US.

Somewhat Concerned

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Maybe they should move their operation to Canada where that won't be a problem.

Somewhat Concerned

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

This is a company that should do well in the future and that is here because of a &quot;spin out&quot; from the U that occurred decades ago.