Report confirms future is in knowledge-based economy

A report by Michigan Future Inc. validates Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s initiatives to attract and retain jobs in the knowledge-based economy.
In its report, “The New Path To Prosperity: Lessons For Michigan From Two Decades Of Economic Change,” Michigan Future Inc. said, “The defining characteristic of those places with the most prosperous economies today – and almost certainly even more so in the future – is their concentration in the knowledge-based sectors of the economy.”
Patterson began leading Oakland County into the knowledge-based economy when he launched his Emerging Sectors program in 2004. Since inception, hundreds of businesses have invested billions of dollars in the knowledge-based economy creating and retaining tens of thousands of jobs.
“My goal – to attract sustainable (that’s the operative word), high-paying jobs in the knowledge-based economy,” Patterson said. “Within 20 years, we will have transformed the economy of Oakland County. Oakland County will not be recession proof, but it will be recession-resistant.”
University of Michigan economists George Fulton and Donald Grimes confirmed the strength of Oakland County’s knowledge-based economy initiative when they released the county’s economic forecast for 2013-2015. They predicted Oakland County would add more than 41,000 jobs over a three-year period. Most of those future jobs are in the medium- and high-wage categories in the knowledge-based economy.
Oakland County surpassed Fulton & Grimes new jobs forecast for 2013 in a matter of months. That mirrors the county’s job growth in 2011 and 2012 when the county added a total of 47,902 jobs, double what the economists forecasted.
Automation Alley, another Patterson initiative, opened in 1999 to compete directly with Silicon Valley, Boston’s Route 128, and North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Today, Automation Alley has 1,000 member companies, universities and government agencies across eight counties in southeast Michigan promoting the region as a high tech hub. For more information, go to
In 2004, Patterson created his Emerging Sectors program to identify the top 10 sectors that will attract and retain sustainable, high-paying jobs to Oakland County in the 21st Century. Companies in these emerging sectors are involved in such leading-edge technologies as biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and advanced manufacturing. Since inception, 247 companies in the knowledge-based economy have invested $2.57 billion creating 29,500 jobs and retaining more than 13,500.
With well over 100,000 jobs, health care and life sciences is the largest Emerging Sector in Oakland County. Medical Main Street, yes another Patterson initiative, markets this burgeoning sector and the region as a destination for world-class health care, leading-edge life science research and medical device manufacturing. More individuals work under Medical Main Street in the Oakland County region than the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic combined.
For more information on Oakland County’s programs in the knowledge-based economy, go to