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Posted on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

View the full 2013-2015 Economic Outlook report for Washtenaw County

By Lizzy Alfs

University of Michigan economists George Fulton and Donald Grimes released their annual economic outlook report for Washtenaw County on Wednesday.

The forecast predicts the county will add 12,961 new jobs from 2013 to 2015, while the unemployment rate will fall from 5 percent to 4.3 percent by the end of the three-year period.

By the second quarter of 2013, the county will surpass its previous peak level of employment in 2002, and by 2015, the county will have 11,000 more jobs than ever before.

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Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

Veracity might be AFFECTED by LXIX's EFFECT (but not likely). Old joke - how to make a blind economist's "Elephant Consumme" - add water and RUN!!! I agree that Ann Arbor (Washtenaw) is unique hence the attraction for many. And clearly has weathered the recession better than most as a result. The simple point was that last month the larger economy looked like a rebound. But in March it seemed to be reversing course. The report in question is positive in its outlook. Great! Just don't bet too much on it. Economics is an art - not a science. Economists are artists in their particular genre. Not physicists applying the standard Scientific Method. Nobody I know can predict the future but if one had to choose, the scientific predictions are safer bets. Washtenaw and even more so Ann Arbor are mostly bound to the monies of the local Universities, healthcare establishments, and automotive industry. Software is hot but can 'virtually' disappear overnight. What AFFECTS the economy here will probably be EFFECTED by one of the above providers or something outside the area that affects them. Apriori knowledge (before time info like insider information) can make predictions magically come true. Knowing the insider info of say Medicare cuts or immigrant amnesty for researchers or UM privatization would dramatically affect the local and/or larger economy. If anyone had such insider info Fulton and Grimes probably would so their predictions hold a lot of water (RUN!!!). We are all economically interconnected though and any external change info not privy to these economomists could upset their prediction. The question is then how "stable" will those external impacts be over the next two years to keep these prediction on track? Heads or tails?


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:43 a.m.

LXIX-- Did you consider the possibility that Washtenaw County economics is somewhat independent of the economics in the rest of Michigan or even the rest of the country? Those living in Washtenaw County may average higher incomes than elsewhere and would therefore be less effected by an increase in payroll taxation or by decreased spending outside of our county. I agree that different econometrics may produce different predictions. Economists could be like the blind person whose impression about what an elephant is depends on what part he is examining at the time.


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 9:46 p.m.

It seems this article should state that is one of the entities that paid for this report. Doesn't that seem significant?


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

Nah. At least two jobs were added to the local economy thereby proving the report's validity. Now just 12,959 jobs left for A2com to fill. Say, I've got a job. Called "The Necessity of Economists in a Vibrant City Economy". Twenty bucks. Cash only.


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in February, declined in March. The Index is 59.7 (1985=100), down from 68.0 in February. The Present Situation Index decreased to 57.9 from 61.4. The Expectations Index declined to 60.9 from 72.4 last month. UM February Consumer Sentiment was up 5.1% to 73.7 "Consumer confidence continued to improve in February due to expected gains in employment. These expected job gains have partially offset concerns about high-er payroll taxes and the impending reduction in federal spending. Unfortunately, those expected job gains will be harder to actually accomplish given that the economy faces weakened consumer demand due to lower take-home pay as well as reduced federal spending and employment". [Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist, Richard Curtin] February Home Prices and Durable Goods orders were up. Existing Home Sales sagged a little. but still okay. Or Maybe just investment speculators taking a rest in Real Estate. Russia stocks up today on global growth confidence. Or Maybe just the $13 billion European bailout check for Cypress where Russian oligarchs launder their money. Oil futures up due to anticipated U.S. economic activity demand. Or maybe just the dwindling crude supplies. It was the best of times or it was the worst of times.