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Clinton Township — In 2018, Macomb County’s job growth, technological investments and booming population boosted the region, the county executive said Wednesday.

“Macomb County’s economy is as strong as it’s ever been,” Mark Hackel told an audience gathered for the State of the County address Wednesday.

The former county sheriff lauded the progress and initiatives during his eighth annual presentation.

The event, which came at the end of the county’s bicentennial year, showcased advances in the county based on areas such as population, educational attainment, median incomes, employment, housing and financial stability.

The leader said the county has gained nearly 4,000 new residents in the last year.  He credited the county’s law enforcement, municipal policies, welcoming atmosphere and job opportunities for drawing more newcomers.

“People choose to live where they feel safe,” Hackel told about 1,200 guests at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township. “This population trend is a testament to the fact that people feel welcome in Macomb.”

Along with the influx, Macomb County’s annual median household income increased to more than $60,000, or about 9 percent higher than the state average, he said. In 2018, the county added more than 1,500 new housing units and the median home value increased by more than $8,000.

The county’s strength is one reason why Maria Guglielmetti, a business owner from Sterling Heights, returned to the area about two years ago after more than a decade out of the state.

“It’s just the safety, the confidence,” she said. “It’s a tight community and the leaders really pay attention to what needs to be done.”

Hackel returned to the county's gains across many sectors throughout his address.

The county’s workforce has also grown to more than 445,000 individuals; unemployment dropped to 4 percent. 

Hackel said the county continues “to experience one of the largest and most technologically advanced investments in the entire state.”

He cited General Motors Co.'s luxury brand moving its headquarters to the former Campbell Ewald building in Warren and the automaker investing $28 million in a new project at its local battery lab.

Hackel touched on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV announcing plans this year to move all production of its Ram heavy-duty pickups from Mexico to its Warren Truck Assembly Plant.

“These major automotive investments are creating expansion opportunities for a …supplier network of more than 1,600 manufacturing firms,” Hackel said.

Other highlights in the county:
•Officials are planning a first-of-its-kind Robotics Collaboration and Innovation Center in the county. The center will aim to increase awareness and opportunity within the robotics and IT ecosystem by offering tools, programs and expert assistance.
•A recently launched “Fueling the Talent Pipeline” service platform will allow employers and educators to share resources and help students become aware of future career opportunities.
•The Detroit Zoological Society announcing plans for a multi-million-dollar Great Lakes Nature Center
•Expansions at county sites for McLaren, Ascension and Henry Ford hospitals

•Eisenhower Center selecting Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township for a residential treatment dedicated to veterans with traumatic brain injuries

•A $97.8 million grant to help fund a $184.6 million reconstruction of
Mound Road

Hackel's overview drew praise from attendees such as Eugene Gargaro, board chairman for the Detroit Institute of Arts.

"The leadership he exhibits is inspirational," he said after the event.

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