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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

The economies of Michigan: Ann Arbor

By the numbers

$20.4 billion

Size of local economy, 2013


Percent economic growth, 2012-2013.


Rank, among 14 metropolitan
regions in Michigan, in terms
of one-year growth


Rank, among 382 metropolitan
regions in country, in terms of one-year change in GDP


Rank, among 14 Michigan regions,
in overall economic size


Rank nationally, in terms of economic size.
(The region, comprised of Washtenaw County, has nearly 350,000 people,
ranking 147th in population.)

The Business Buzz

Home to the University of Michigan and a sprawling Veterans Administration hospital, the region – projected as a long-term economic winner in Michigan – posted disappointing economic figures in 2013, with overall annual growth in 2013 of just .7 percent, second lowest in the state behind only Midland. Government, nearly 28 percent of the regional economy, fell by 2.8 percent.

Transportation and warehousing fell 9.4 percent to $357 million. On the plus side: Company management grew by 15.2 percent in 2013, utility providers increased 8.7 percent and arts, entertainment, and recreation rose 7.8 percent.

Andy LaBarre, executive vice of the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Chamber: “I am not surprised by the drop in government growth. There's a lagging effect of the loss of funding from the (federal stimulus act) and I think it's taken time to filter down. I think this is more of an anomaly or a one-off."

LaBarre points to a brighter future of growth, both in terms of people and economics.

"But the county is supposed to grow by roughly 30,000 people in the next 25 years," he said. "You look at downtown Ann Arbor and there (are) cranes in the sky.”

Top 10 industries: UM, health care bright spots

In a region hampered by a slight economic downturn in 2013, the Ann Arbor area has seen government and education spending recover from the recession while most other top sectors are still well below 2007 levels.

Sector 2013 GDP
(in $ millions)
Percent of economy Peak year Change (2013)
from peak
Change from 2007 Change from 2012
Government $5,701 27.9% 2012 -2.8% 7.4% -2.8%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing $3,296 16.1% 2009 -10.5% -8.9% 1%
Professional and business services $2,782 13.6% 2004 -10.9% -8.7% 3%
Manufacturing $2,103 10.3% 2006 -30.7% -44.1% 5.6%
Educational services, health care, and social assistance $1,825 8.9% 2013 0% 8.5% 2%
Retail trade $1,010 4.9% 2002 -15.1% 0.2% 4%
Wholesale trade $856 4.2% 2007 -20.9% -26.4% -4.4%
Information $790 3.9% 2011 -0.4% 17.3% 5.6%
Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services $545 2.7% 2004 -2.8% 3.9% 3.8%
Transportation and warehousing $413 2% 2012 n/a n/a n/a

Although it's not an "industry" by federal definition, government services were included in the list.

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