Patterson launches “full employment” campaign

What’s 18,174? That’s the number of jobs that need to be created in Oakland County to get its unemployment rate down to 5%, which economists call “full employment.” It’s also the number on posters hanging throughout the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs (ECDA) to remind employees tasked with attracting companies that will provide these jobs that the goal of “full employment” is within reach.
“The reason for this internal campaign is to help us stay focused on our common goal: jobs, jobs and jobs,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “With a job comes the ability to pay the mortgage, shop downtown, take the kids on vacation, and enjoy the quality of life in Oakland County. It all starts with a job.”
To achieve “full employment” is a Herculean effort. Oakland County’s unemployment rate peaked at 14.7% in July of 2009 due to the effects of the Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcies. Today, it sits at 7.4%.
“Full employment” is within Oakland County’s reach. University of Michigan economists George Fulton and Donald Grimes conservatively forecast that Patterson’s multiple job creation and economic diversification initiatives such as Emerging Sectors and Medical Main Street will create nearly 34,000 jobs over the next three years. Oakland County surpassed Fulton and Grimes’ jobs prediction in 2011 by 10,000, creating more than 23,000 jobs.
“We’re reminding our business development reps that ‘full employment’ is an achievable goal,” said Patterson. “I am confident we’ll reach our goal in 18 months. Fulton and Grimes indicate we’re approaching the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Oakland County’s work force currently totals more than 571,000 individuals. For more information on Patterson’s job creation and economic diversification programs, or to relocate or expand a business in Oakland County, go to