The economies of Michigan: Detroit

By the numbers

$224.7 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's six counties -- Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, St. Clair, and Lapeer -- have 4.3 million people. It ranks 14th nationally in population.)

The Business Buzz

The news here was a mixture of good and bad. Nondurable goods manufacturing - autos, food, clothing and medicine - rose 5.2 percent in 2013 over 2012 but stands more than 16 percent below the region’s peak year of 2004. Manufacturing output increased by 3.1 percent in 2013, reaching 17.7 percent of the region economy. But it's still well below the 21.3 percent share of the economy it claimed in 2002.

Finance and insurance rose 4.6 percent. Government, likely driven by Detroit’s entrance into bankruptcy, fell 3.1 percent and is nearly 15 percent below 2007 and more than 22 percent below its peak in 2003. The health care sector – which includes social services – has grown the most in the past few years, to 9 percent of the region's economy.

“As manufacturing becomes leaner, I believe that health care will be one of the sectors where people who used to work in manufacturing will find work,” said Brian Parthum, economic analyst for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. “As the population ages, what tends to happen is that as a person ages they shift their consumption from retail goods over to health care services.”

Top 10 industries: Region’s economic heft evident

The six-county region’s top sector – finance, insurance and real estate – is nearly bigger than the entire regional economy of Michigan’s second largest region, Grand Rapids. Of the largest sectors, only government and construction saw declines in 2013.

Sector2013 GDP
(in $ millions)
Percent of economyPeak yearChange (2013)
from peak
Change from 2007Change from 2012
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing43,41919.3%2005-4.9%-3.4%1.6%
Professional and business services37,42716.7%2005-10.3%0.1%1.4%
Educational services, health care, and social assistance20,1779%20130%4.8%1.5%
Retail trade13,0135.8%2003-12.1%-1.4%0.5%
Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services7,5413.4%2004-7.9%-6.5%0.7%
Transportation and warehousing6,6473%20130%n/a3.4%

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

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