The economies of Michigan: Saginaw

By the numbers

$7.6 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 Saginaw County,
has 198,000 people, ranking 217th
in population.)

The Business Buzz

The region has been knocked down – but is starting to get back up. For an economy that was battered by the decline of its core industry, manufacturing – once as much as 28 percent of economy, now down to 23 – Saginaw is seeing green shoots.

Manufacturing is up by 3.4 percent in 2013 over 2012 and stands 8 percent above 2007. The finance and insurance sector grew nearly 10 percent in 2013, though it’s still 12.9 percent below the pre-recession year of 2007.

Health care and social assistance grew by nearly 7 percent. The construction industry, once a $460 million industry, saw another 14 percent loss in 2013 and remains more than 43 percent below its 2007 level. Overall GDP annual growth stood at 2.4 percent in 2013.

“Compared to 2008 and 2009, we are very excited about the resurgence we are seeing,” said Steve Jonas, executive vice president of Saginaw Future, a nonprofit economic development corporation.”We have a lot of Tier One and Tier Two automotive suppliers that have been investing millions of dollars. We have (auto parts supplier) Nexteer Automotive – they announced investment of $135 million in 2013 and announced job creation of 400 jobs.”

Perhaps the most hopeful sign is the lessened reliance on manufacturing, Jonas said.

“We are also seeing that our economy is diversifying. We had some of our agricultural producers expand as well as our health care industry and quite a few in food service,” he said.

Top 10 industries: Better but not “back”

The region’s top 3 sectors all saw annual growth in 2013 but none of its top 10 sectors – except the educational and health-care services sector – is back to its peak year.

Sector 2013 GDP
(in $ millions)
Percent of economy Peak year Change (2013)
from peak
Change from 2007 Change from 2012
Manufacturing $1,741 23% 2003 -13.8% 7.6% 3.4%
Educational services, health care, and social assistance $1,013 13.4% 2013 0% 0.7% 3.7%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing $962 12.7% 2005 -20.4% -23.6% 5.3%
Government $881 11.7% 2001 -17% -10.6% -2.9%
Professional and business services $673 8.9% 2012 -2.5% 4.3% -2.5%
Retail trade $609 8.1% 2001 -5.9% 1.4% 0.3%
Wholesale trade $308 4.1% 2003 -21.3% -8.3% 5.7%
Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services $240 3.2% 2003 -15.2% -4.4% -2.6%
Information $223 3% 2005 -23.4% -8.6% 5.7%
Construction $184 2.4% 2001 -62% -76.6% -14.2%

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

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