County Officials Express Optimism for Macomb's Economic Recovery
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Macomb County Board of Commissioners Chair Kathy Vosburg share their thoughts on Macomb County's economic future.
Despite hearing a less-than-ideal regional economic forecast Tuesday, Macomb County officials were optimistic about the area’s recovery in the near future, citing both the county’s continued population growth and increased manufacturing base as support for this optimism.
“I think there’s definitely hope in this report,” said Macomb County Board of Commissioners Chair Kathy Vosburg, of the Economic Growth Alliance’s regional forecast. “We heard that there are some jobs that are going to be available to our residents. It seems the government side of things is still on the decline and that is because of reduced revenue that we have for local government. But it is encouraging to see the private sector is having an increase.”
While this predicted loss in the government sector (about 7,000 jobs by 2013) was worrisome for Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel as well, he still expressed confidence in what he calls Macomb County’s “value-added proposition.”
“What are the areas of interest that make people move to a community, bring a business?” Hackel said. “There was a loss in manufacturing and automotive (jobs), so why did 53,000 people (according to the 2010 U.S. Census) migrate to Macomb County from wherever they came from? Because of economic opportunities or the quality of life?”
For Hackel, the answer is quality of life. Be it the expansion of recreational opportunities, access to Lake St. Clair, schools or better roads, he believes community development contributes directly to economic development, leaving Macomb County in a prime position for not only economic recovery, but growth in the near future.
“I’ve always been a pretty optimistic person,” he said. “I’ve never had a pessimistic outlook on things. There are always challenges, and you can’t ignore the fact that there are people without jobs. You can’t ignore the fact that housing values are declining, but when you hear all these things you have to remember there are still a lot of positives going on. People still have jobs, and have businesses.”
Vosburg agrees that one of Macomb County’s greatest strengths is and will continue to be its sustained growth.
“We are an area people aren’t afraid to drive 30 miles or more to go to work,” she said. “There are still things people can do to take advantage of the economy in this area and help themselves and their families work out of this economic problem we are in.”
Low housing prices and increased manufacturing opportunities in Macomb County's expanding "defense corridor" are a few areas Hackel and Vosburg believe will contribute to the area's continued growth.