The economies of Michigan: Flint

By the numbers

$12.6 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 Genesee County, has
418,000 people, ranking 125th in population.)

The Business Buzz

Rough economic times continue for this region as manufacturing output, hammered for the better part of a decade, again fell, this time by 4.3 percent in 2013. It is just 44 percent of its peak year in 2003 and barely half what it was in 2007.

Construction, though recording a small increase in 2013, remains down 58 percent from its peak year of 2001. Accommodations and food services were up 8.6 percent to $395 million. Finance and Insurance grew by 7.2 percent to $658 million.

Overall GDP growth was 1.3 percent, below the state average. But there is a true bright spot: The information sector, which includes Internet providers, broadcasting, publishing and data processing companies, has grown by 86 percent since 2007. Broadcasting and telecommunication grew from $156 million in 2004 to $462 million in 2012. That includes big gains at Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy, a call center and medical services operation which employs about 800 workers in Genesee County.

“Like most urban areas across the state, we have our challenges. But if you look at manufacturing as a whole, we think we are on the upswing,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. He said General Motors is putting $650 million into a truck assembly paint facility in Flint and another $200 million into the engine plant next door.

He expects continued growth in telecommunication. “Diplomat just went public and sold $200 million worth of shares,” he said.
Other good news: The University of Michigan-Flint is the fastest growing university in Michigan with 38 percent growth in enrollment in the past decade, he said.

Top 10 industries: Call center, pharma provide hope

Flint’s regional economy was battered by the recession, only partially offset by a rapidly rising information sector.

Sector2013 GDP
(in $ millions)
Percent of economyPeak yearChange (2013)
from peak
Change from 2007Change from 2012
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing$2,04116.2%2003-1.1%2.8%3.9%
Educational services, health care, and social assistance$1,75614%2009-1%3.5%2.1%
Retail trade$1,1359%2004-5.3%1.5%1.8%
Professional and business services$9797.8%2001-31.3%-1.2%-3.2%
Wholesale trade$7485.9%2005-34.9%-44.7%2.9%
Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services$4163.3%2005-13.2%-12.9%7.6%
Other services, except government$3642.9%2001-37.3%-21.6%-3.8%

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

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