Economy of metropolitan Detroit: Wikis


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The Renaissance Center is world headquarters of General Motors.

The economy of metropolitan Detroit, Michigan is a key pillar of the economy of the United States. Its ten county area has a population of over 5.4 million, a workforce of 2.6 million, and about 240,000 businesses.[1] Detroit's six county Metropolitan Statistical Area has a population of about 4.5 million, a workforce of about 2.1 million,[2] and a Gross Metropolitan Product of $200.9 billion.[3] Detroit's urban area has a population of 3.9 million. A 2005 PricewaterhouseCoopers study estimated that Detroit's urban area had a Gross Domestic Product of $203 billion.[4]

About 80,500 people work in downtown Detroit, comprising 21 percent of the city's employment.[5][6] Metro Detroit has propelled Michigan's national ranking in emerging technology fields such as life sciences, information technology, and advanced manufacturing; Michigan ranks fourth nationally in high tech employment with 568,000 high tech workers, which includes 70,000 in the automotive industry.[7] Michigan typically ranks third or fourth in overall Research & development (R&D) expenditures in the United States.[8][9] Metro Detroit is an important source of engineering job opportunities. Detroit is known as the automobile capital of the world,[10] with the domestic auto industry primarily headquartered in Metro Detroit.[11] New vehicle production, sales, and jobs related to automobile use account for one of every ten jobs in the United States.[12]

In April 2008, metropolitan Detroit's unemployment rate was 6.9 percent; by January 2010, it rose to 15.3 percent.[2][13] Economic issues include the City of Detroit's unemployment rate which rose to 24.3 percent in December 2010 during the recession.[2] The suburbs typically have low unemployment; however, the auto industry's economic cycles affect the entire metropolitan area. An extensive freeway system, begun in the 1950s and 1960s, facilitates commuting with the city's unemployment partly due to white flight. Beginning in the 1950s and increasing in the 1970s and 80s, the City of Detroit lost much of its tax base to the suburbs. This trend has begun to change through the 2000s, with increased revitalization and urban development in Detroit.



Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn known as the Glass House

As the world's traditional automotive center, Metro Detroit is headquarters to America's "Big Three" automakers, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler.[10][14][15] Virtually every major global automaker has a presence in the area including technology and design centers. Oakland County's "Automation Alley" has over 1,800 of world's advanced technology companies.[16] [17] There are about 4,000 factories in the area.[18] The automotive headquarters for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is in the suburb of Troy. OnStar and GMAC are a source for growth. In spite of foreign competition for market share, Detroit's automakers have continued to gain volume from previous decades with the expansion of the American and global automotive markets. In 2008, an economic and financial crisis impacted global auto industry sales.

Since the early 2000s recession and the September 11, 2001 attacks, GM, Ford, and Chrysler have struggled to overcome the benefit funds crisis which followed an ensuing volatile stock market which had caused a severe underfunding condition in the respective U.S. pension and benefit funds (OPEB). Although manufacturing in the state grew 6.6% from 2001 to 2006,[19] the high speculative price of oil became a factor for the U.S. auto industry during the economic crisis of 2008 impacting industry revenues. During this economic crisis, President George W. Bush extended loans from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds in order to help the GM and Chrysler bridge the recession.[20]

Top Fortune 500 Companies
in Metro Detroit for 2009

(ranked by revenues)
with metro and U.S. rankings.
Metro Corporation US
1 General Motors 3
2 Ford 7
3 Delphi 83
4 Lear 130
5 Pulte Homes 170
6 TRW Automotive 185
7 Masco 190
8 Penske Automotive 205
9 Visteon 219
10 Arvin Meritor 253
11 DTE Energy 279
12 Federal-Mogul 361
13 Autoliv 376
14 Kelly Services 408
15 BorgWarner 481
16 Borders Group 516
See also:
List of Michigan companies

Source:: Fortune [21]

In January 2009, President Barack Obama formed an automotive task force in order to help the industry recover and achieve renewed prosperity for the region. Through 2007, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler made independent efforts to restore fund pensions and had reached agreements with the United Auto Workers union to transfer the liabilities for their respective health care and benefit funds to a 501(c)(9) Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) raising prospects for corporate turnaround plans.[22][23] In spite of these efforts, the severity of the recession required Detroit's automakers to take additional steps to restructure, including idling many plants. With the U.S. Treasury extending the necessary debtor in possession financing, Chrysler and GM emerged from 'pre-packaged' Chapter 11 reorganizations in June and July 2009 respectively.[24] GM plans to issue an initial public offering (IPO) of stock in 2010.[25] As of July 10, 2009, the new GM has over $40B in cash, with its debts reduced to $17B.[26] The company's reorganized long-term liability obligations of $48.8B include $24.4 B to be paid to the Voluntary Employee Benefits Association (VEBA) trust, $9 B to the U.S. and Canadian governments, and $15 B in liabilities to suppliers and other bills. GM is slated to pay $10 B to the VEBA trust in December 2009 which it may elect to pay from its pension fund, with the remainder being paid in increments from 2012-19. GM isn't required to make contributions to its pension fund until 2013, but it may elect to if needed, since the company contribued $15.2 B to its pension fund in 2003. Stock market can conditions cause the pension and benefit fund values to fluctuate which may affect the plans of GM, Ford, and Chrysler. In February 2009, GM's combined pension fund had about $85 B in assets.[27] Through April 2009, Ford's strategy of debt for equity exchanges erased $9.9 B in liabilities (28% of its total).[28]

Detroit's automakers are designing future vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt flex fuel hybrid. In 2006, Ford announced a dramatic increase in production of its hybrid gas-electric models,[29] Ford and GM have also promoted E-85 ethanol capable flexible-fuel vehicles as a viable alternative to gasoline. General Motors has invested heavily in all fuel cell equipped vehicles,[30] while Chrysler is focusing much of its research and development into biodiesel.[31] Two days after the September 11, 2001 attacks, GM announced it had developed the world's most powerful fuel cell stack capable of powering large commercial vehicles.[32] In 2002, the state of Michigan established NextEnergy, a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to enable commercialization of various energy technologies, especially hydrogen fuel cells. Its main complex is located north of Wayne State University. In August 2009, Michigan and Detroit's auto industry received $1.36 B in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries which are expected to generate 6,800 immediate jobs and employ 40,000 in the state by 2020.[33]

Metro area business leaders belong to the Detroit Economic Club, headquartered at 211 West Fort Street.

In 2008, General Motors' global sales reached 8.36 million vehicles. The sales revenue from just one of Detroit's automakers exceeds the combined total for the all of the top companies in many major U.S. cities. On quality, Cadillac outscored all other luxury automakers in two of three quality surveys by AutoPacific, Strategic Vision, and J.D. Power in 2003.[34] Ford led all other automakers in the 2007 J.D. Initial Quality survey.[35]

The area includes a variety of manufacturers and is an important component of U.S. national security.[36] U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) is headquartered in Metro Detroit together with Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The region has important defense contractors such as General Dynamics. K-Dow Petrochemicals is a multinational corporation specializing in the manufacturing of plastics. It is an $11 billion joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company and Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) of the State of Kuwait, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC).[37] On July 15, 2008 the two companies announced the location of their headquarters to be in the Metro Detroit area.[37] The area is home to Rofin-Sinar, a leading maker of lasers which are used for industrial processes. On June 27, 2009, General Electric announced plans to build a new $100-million center for advanced manufacturing technology and software, in Van Buren Township in Wayne County, expected to employ 1,200 people providing a pay range of $100,000 per year.[38][39]

With its major port status, the city's infrastructure accommodates heavy industry. Marathon Oil Company maintains a large refinery in Detroit, expanded to refine oil sands from Canada.[40] Lafarge's cement distribution facility constructed at the city's Springwells Industrial Park in 2005 includes North America's largest cement silo.[41]

Information technology

Metro Detroit accounts for the State's national ranking in emerging technology fields such as life sciences, information technology, and advanced manufacturing; Michigan ranks fourth nationally in high tech employment.[7] Downtown Detroit maintains a wireless Internet zone. A report by the Silicon Valley based TechNet group found Michigan to be the leading state for stimulating demand for broadband, positioning it during the early 2000s.[42] The Michigan Information Technology Center provides education, support services, and conferencing facilities for the region's information technology companies.[43] The metro area is home to high tech business incubators such as the Michigan Security Network, a consortium which coordinates business growth of cybersecurity, biodefense, and border security sectors.[44][45]

Some of the metro area's information technology and software companies with a major presence or headquarters include Compuware, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), IBM, Google, General Electric, Unisys, Fiserv, Covansys, and ProQuest. EDS makes Metro Detroit its regional headquarters and one of its largest global employment locations. On June 26, 2009, General Electric announced that it will create software at a new advanced manufacturing and technology center in Van Buren Township.[38][39] Comcast and Verizon maintain a large presence in the area. OnStar, based in the Renaissance Center is also a source of growth. Chrysler's largest corporate facility is its U.S. headquarters and technology center in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills. VisionIT and Kelly Services are other large employers headquartered in the metro area filling a wide range of needs. Five of the world's twenty largest employers began in Metro Detroit.[46]


Metro Detroit ranks among the nation's top five financial districts having all of the big four accounting firms.[47] The area's major financial service employers include Quicken Loans, GMAC, Ford Motor Credit Company, National City Corp., Fifth Third Bank, Comerica, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Deloitte Touche, Ernst & Young, Virchow Krause-Baker Tilly International, and Raymond James.

Financial and investment executives have diverse employment opportunities in metropolitan Detroit. GMAC is the largest holder of mortgages in the United States. Quicken Loans is the largest online retail home mortgage lender in the United States. There are a range of venture capital firms which finance business start-ups and acquisitions.[48] The area's real estate investment trusts (REITs) which include Taubman Centers are an important part of the investment community. Pulte Homes, one of the nation's largest home builders has its own mortgage company. As another example, General Motors invests its $101 billion pension trust.[49] Detroit's historic Penobscot Building in the downtown financial district is in the heart of the city's wireless Internet zone.

Nevertheless, the sector has suffered some job losses, Comerica Bank in an effort to further expand announced it would move its corporate headquarters to Dallas, Texas in 2007 affecting 200 jobs, however, it will maintain a large presence in Michigan. The bank has engaged in a succession of takeovers in other states including Texas, Florida, and California. The bank's lease on Comerica Tower at Detroit Center runs through 2012.[50]

On November 12, 2007, Quicken Loans announced its development agreement with the city to move its headquarters to downtown Detroit, consolidating about 4,000 of its suburban employees in a move considered to be a high importance to city planners to reestablish the historic downtown.[51][52] The construction sites reserved for development by the agreement include the location of the former Statler on Grand Circus Park and the former Hudson's location.[53]

Real estate

From the metro area economy, Michigan's 2004 rank was second nationally in new corporate facilities and expansions.[54] From 1997 to 2004, Michigan was the only state to top the 10,000 mark for the number of major new developments.[54] An indicator of economic strength, Metro Detroit has one of the nation's largest office markets with 147,880,000 square feet (13,739,000 m2).[55] Major inter-connected office complexes include the 5,500,000 sq ft (511,000 m2) Renaissance Center, the 2,200,000 sq ft (204,000 m2) Southfield Town Center, and the 1,395,000 sq ft (129,600 m2) Cadillac Place joined with the 487,000 sq ft (45,240 m2) Fisher Building in the historic New Center area. The metro area's resilience has kept the State's economy growing in spite of difficulties.

As another comparative advantage, Metro Detroit is home to highly successful real estate developers. Metro Detroit suburbs are among the more affluent in the U.S.[56] Some of the newer multi-million dollar estates in the metro area include those of the Turtle Lake development in Bloomfield Hills by Victor International.[57] The region is the headquarters for Pulte Homes, one of the nation's largest home builders, and Taubman Centers, one of the nation's largest shopping mall developers. There are a full range of retail shopping centers from upscale stores to discount chains. The inner suburbs have properties such as older malls which, if redeveloped, could become a new source for growth. In 2007, Bank of America announced that it would commit $25 billion to community development in Michigan following its acquisition of LaSalle Bank in Troy.[58]

Historic restoration of the Frederick Butler House (1882), a 8,400 square ft. mansion at 291 Edmund Place in Brush Park (Woodward East), completed in 2006.[59]

The Cool Cities Initiative is an innovative reinvestment strategy for America's northern cities begun by Michigan leaders to rebuild inner cities and downtowns.[60] Immigration continues to play a role in the region's projected growth with the population of Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint (CMSA) estimated to be 6,191,000 by 2025.[61] Cities with existing infrastructure like Detroit are equipped to accommodate future increases in projected U.S. population growth.[62] A 2007 report showed the City of Detroit's average household income at $47,962, a 17 percent increase over the 2000 Census estimate.[63] However, urban development in Detroit is a priority for the region. Parts of the inner-city have vacant buildings. The city has worked to obtain funding to demolish blighted properties and to renovate historic neighborhoods.[59][64] Since the third quarter of 2006, Metro Detroit's residential resale housing market has struggled, along with the residential real estate trend across the United States creating opportunities for buyers.[65][66] In April 2008, the city of Detroit announced a $300-million stimulus plan to create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods, financed by city bonds and paid for by earmarking about 15% of the wagering tax.[67]

Riverfront Towers, a residential development on the Detroit International Riverfront

OnStar, GMAC, and Compuware have brought an influx of employees to downtown Detroit. The city reported $1.3 billion in restorations and new developments for 2006.[68] Moreover, downtown Detroit has seen billions of dollars in new investment over the past decade. The Detroit Riverfront conservancy has been able to acquire the $500 million investment for Detroit International Riverfront development through a series of public and private grants which includes a three mile (5 km) parkway along the east river from the Hart Plaza and the Renaissance Center to the Belle Isle Bridge.[69] Eventually, the city plans a two mile (3 km) extension to the Ambassador Bridge for the west river development.

Lifestyles for rising professionals in Detroit reflect those of other major cities. A 2007 study found that Detroit's new downtown residents are predominantly young professionals (57 percent are ages 25–34, 45 percent have bachelor's degrees, 34 percent have a master's or professional degrees, and the overall average income for downtown residents in Detroit exceeded the census projections by 33 percent).[63][70] This dynamic is luring many younger residents to the downtown area.[6][70][71] Some are choosing to live in the grandiose mansions of Grosse Pointe in order to be closer to the urban scene. The 365-acre (1.48 km2) river east development is a plan investing billions of dollars in a new mixed use residential, commercial, and retail space for downtown Detroit to serve the people where they work and live. To spearhead the development, the State of Michigan created the Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor downtown along the Detroit International Riverfront. In 2007, downtown Detroit was named among the best big city neighborhoods in which to retire by CNN Money Magazine editors.[72] In 2008, Troy, Michigan ranked as the fourth most affordable U.S. city with a median household income of 78,800.[73] Oakland County is the fourth wealthiest county in the United States among counties with more than one million people.[56]

Redevelopment of the Fort Shelby Hotel and the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel has spurred economic growth downtown. However, the development of Detroit's west river area and its Michigan Central Station, along with an agreement on the expansion or replacement of Cobo Hall which hosts the North American International Auto Show, are the next challenges for the city.


The Greater Detroit Foreign Trade Zone (GDFTZ) was created in 1981 through the U.S. Department of Commerce to allow for the reduction of taxes across borders and to attract, retain and facilitate international trade[74] Infrastructure is an important component in the metro area economy. Detroit has an extensive toll-free expressway system which, together with its status as a major port city, provide advantages to its location as a global business center.[17] There are no toll roads in Michigan.[75]

Metro Detroit is the nation's number one exporting region and busiest commercial port.[16] The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest commercial border crossing in North America, carrying 27 percent of the total trade between the U.S. and Canada.[76] More than fifteen million people and ten million vehicles cross the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel annually.[77] A 2004 Border Transportation Partnership study showed that 150,000 jobs in the Detroit-Windsor region and $13 billion in annual production depend on Detroit's international border crossing.[78] The Ambassador Bridge enhancement project calls for a twin span with six lanes to be built across the Detroit River presenting the prospect for expanded capacity.[79]

Many people commute across the Detroit-Windsor International border daily. Professions identified in the 1988 Free Trade Act are permitted TN Visas for legal work in the United States and Canada. As an example, a large number of nurses in Detroit hospitals are Canadians living in Windsor. One of the nation's largest law firms, Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone P.L.C., has offices in both Windsor and Detroit. The U.S dollar is readily accepted as currency in Windsor.


Ambassador Bridge from the Canadian side of the Detroit River.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) administers the region's extensive freeway system. The region offers mass transit with bus services provided by the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) is studying a plan to expand the region's mass transit system to reduce congestion and environmental pollution[80] Cross border service between the downtown areas of Windsor and Detroit is provided by Transit Windsor via the Tunnel Bus.[81] A monorail system, known as the People Mover, operates daily through a 2.9 mile (4.6 km) loop in the downtown area.[82] Amtrak's current passenger facility is north of downtown in the New Center area. Amtrak provides service to Detroit, operating its Wolverine service between Chicago, Illinois, and Pontiac. Greyhound Bus operates a station on Howard Street near Michigan Avenue.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) is one of America's largest and most recently modernized facilities, with six major runways, Boeing 747 maintenance facilities, and an attached Westin Hotel and Conference Center. Located in nearby Romulus, DTW is metro Detroit's principal airport and is a hub for Delta Air Lines and Spirit Airlines. Bishop International Airport in Flint and Toledo Express Airport in Toledo, Ohio are other commercial passenger airports. Coleman A. Young International Airport (DET), commonly called Detroit City Airport, is on Detroit's northeast side, and offers charter service.[83] Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti is for commercial aviation. One economic development strategy proposed is an Aerotropolis, a concept utilizing Detroit Metropolitan Airport as a central business district.[84] Detroit Renaissance has announced an eleven point strategy to transform the region's economy which includes development of the Aerotropolis.[85] Detroit is an important center for transportation & logistics employment including its aviation, rail, truck, and port facilities.

The Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) has conducted a feasibility study for a light rail link from downtown Detroit to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and is studying the feasibility of light rail or other rapid transit linking Ann Arbor to Detroit.[86] These plans may become keys to the region's prospective bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.


Tourism in metropolitan Detroit is an important economic factor, comprising nine percent of the area's two million jobs.[87] About 15.9 million people visit the area annually spending an estimated $4.8 billion.[88][89] Besides casino gaming, the region's leading attraction is The Henry Ford, America's largest indoor-outdoor museum complex.[90][91] The Detroit International Riverfront links the Renaissance Center to a series of venues, parks, restaurants, and hotels by a riverfront walkway.

The region hosts large multi-day events with crowds of hundreds of thousands to over three million people for annual events such as the Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival, the North American International Auto Show, and the Motown Winter Blast on Campus Martius Park. The city's Midtown and New Center areas anchored by Wayne State University attract millions of visitors each year to its museums and cultural centers; for example, the Detroit Festival of the Arts in Midtown draws about 350,000 people.[92] Mall developers consider the metro area's Somerset Collection to be among the nation's top privately held mall properties with 2004 annual sales of about $600 million and sales per square foot at $620 compared to the national average of $341.[93]

The area has hosted several major sporting events such as Super Bowl XL; in fact, Detroit is the only northern city to have hosted two Super Bowls. Ford Field will host the 2009 NCAA Final Four; in April 2007 it hosted WrestleMania 23. Major League Baseball's 2005 All-Star Game was held at Comerica Park, as were 2006 World Series games due to the Detroit Tigers success. Metro Detroit is one of thirteen U.S. cities with teams from four major sports.

The area's 24,000-acre (97 km2) network of Huron-Clinton Metroparks receives about nine million visitors annually.[94] About 5.9 million people live in the Windsor-Detroit region, making it one of the largest metropolitan areas in North America. An estimated 46 million people live within a 300-mile (480 km) radius of Metro Detroit.[95][96] Thus, the metro area has many opportunities for growth in tourism with great potential for development and expansion. The region's abundance of natural lakes and coastal landscape present investment potential for beachfront resorts and luxury high rise condominiums. In addition, there is the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge which is the only international wildlife preserve in North America, uniquely located in the heart of a major metropolitan area. The refuge includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals, and waterfront lands along 48 miles (77 km) of the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie shoreline.

The City of Detroit also functions as an entertainment hub for the entire region,[96] as the emerging casino resort properties, sports venues, and theatre district pose development prospects for new retail. Detroit is the largest American city and metropolitan region to offer casino resorts.[97] The MGM Grand Detroit (2007), Motor City Casino (2008), Caesars Windsor (2007), and Greektown Casino (2008) comprise the regions four major casino resorts.

Movie studios in metro area help to establish the state as a legitimate contender in the 12-month-a-year film business.[98] Detroit Center Studios (2009) will debut at the downtown building which was the start-up casino for MGM Grand to create digital animation and visual effects.[99] Motown Motion Picture Studios (2009) with 600,000 square feet will produce movies at the Pontiac Centerpoint Business Campus for a film industry expected to employ over 4,000 people in the metro area.[100]

Education and research

The region's highly educated and innovative workforce is a comparative advantage which has been very successful in organic business growth with notable examples such as Compuware and Covansys.

Metro Detroit is diversifying its economic base though initiatives in emerging technologies. The area is home to many post-secondary institutions of higher learning and research, including: Baker College, Carnegie Institute, Cleary University, Cranbrook Educational Community, Eastern Michigan University, Lawrence Technological University, Oakland University, Thomas M Cooley Law School-Rochester, Ave Maria School of Law, Walsh College, Rochester College, Madonna University, Marygrove College, University of Detroit Mercy, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. In the City of Detroit, the Detroit Public Schools voted on April 5, 2007 to close 34 schools as part of a cost-reduction plan which will include lay-offs. Since the DPS is the city's largest employer, this will negatively impact employment.[101]

In 2002, the state constructed the NextEnergy Center just north of Wayne State University to focus on fuel cell development and alternative energy. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is one of the world's leading research institutions.

On the Canadian side of the border, Windsor's two post secondary institutions have partnered with auto makers to open high tech research and training facilities. The University of Windsor is home to the University of Windsor/DaimlerChrysler Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre. St. Clair College has the Ford Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing.[102][103]


Health systems and biomedical

Biomedical Science Research Building at the UM Medical School.

A 2003 study measuring health care industry components ranked the Metro Detroit area as one of the nation's leading health care economies, with the region's hospital sector ranking fourth in the United States.[104] A 2006 economic impact report showed that the metropolitan region supported 245,379 direct health care jobs with an additional 120,408 indirect and induced jobs.[105] Major health system networks in the region include the University of Michigan, Henry Ford, Beaumont, Detroit Medical Center, St. John, Oakwood, St. Joseph, Karmanos Cancer Center, and the John D. Dingell Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Beginning in 2010, Oakland University in Rochester will open Michigan's fourth medical school in a partnership with Beaumont Hospitals. The school will boost the region's economy with jobs in the life sciences, research, clinical trials, and doctors[106]. Wayne State University in Detroit has the largest single-campus medical school in the United States. In January 2009, the University of Michigan established the North Campus Research Complex through its purchase of the former Pfizer research facility with 30 buildings on 174 acres in Ann Arbor in order to create about 2,000 jobs through establishing commercial partnerships.[107] The Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan administers $100 million of private foundation grants for the regions New Economy Initiative to spur investment in a variety of metro area projects.[108]


As the traditional automotive center, the region is a major source for related journalism and business news. Thomson Gale, Borders Group, and Crain Communications are headquartered in the metro area. The Detroit television market is the eleventh largest in the United States;[109] however, these ratings do not include Canadian cable viewers that watch Detroit television stations; cities served by Detroit channels in Ontario include London, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay; many Western Canadians also watch Detroit channels, such as Saskatoon residents[110] Detroit has the ninth largest radio market in the United States,[111] though this ranking does not take into account Canadian audiences.


The City of Detroit has few big chain retailers,[112] while many local businesses are in the city limits.[113] In 2009, German based supermarket chain Aldi, which opened Detroit locations in 2001 and 2005, and the Michigan based Spartan Stores are the grocery chains operating within the city of Detroit.[112][114] Farmer Jack, a Michigan subsidiary of Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company which operated grocery stores in Detroit, ended operations in 2007. Many independent grocery stores serve neighborhoods in Detroit; some neighborhoods are underserved by grocery stores.[113] As of 2009, no "big box" supercenters from chains such as Wal-Mart and Target exist in the city.[114] In August 2009, the Meijer chain of super centers announced it would open its first store with the city limits of Detroit at the $90M Shoppes at Gateway Park.[115] After closures in summer 2008 Starbucks has four outlets in the city; however, within the city limits are the Michigan based Coffee Beanery and Biggby Coffee.[112] Borders Group closed its sole Detroit bookstore outlet in the 2000s. In June 2009, the sole Chrysler-Jeep dealer in the city limits became an independent automotive group which stopped the sale of new cars.[112] Some discount retailers have expanded in the 2000s; Family Dollar has opened stores in Detroit since 2003. In April 2009, developers announced they had leased 60% of the retail space for a planned $90-million open-air mall, the Shoppes at Gateway Park, to be located within the city-limits of Detroit.[115][116] Many chain retailers are located in suburban municipalities such as Dearborn.[117] In the 2000s many older malls closed; their roles were replaced by "big box" establishments. During the same decade lifestyle centers appeared in Detroit suburbs.[118]

Data charts

Distribution of Detroit's Economy.svg

Labor force distribution in Detroit, Michigan by category:
     Construction      Manufacturing      Trade, transportation, utilities      Information      Finance      Professional and business services      Education and health services      Leisure and hospitality      Other services

Major municipalities

Largest employers

Metro Detroit's 25 largest employers
Source: Crain's Detroit Business (2007).[119]
company/organization metro location full-time local
Ford Motor Company 1 American Road, Dearborn 55,342 Automotive
General Motors 300 Renaissance Center, Detroit 41,861 Automotive
Chrysler LLC 1000 Chrysler Drive, Auburn Hills 32,597 Automotive
Detroit Public Schools 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit 17,329 Education
University of Michigan Main Campus, Ann Arbor 16,832 Education and research
University of Michigan Health System 1500 E. Medical Center Dr., Ann Arbor 16,551 Health care
U.S. Postal Service 1401 W. Fort St., Detroit 15,385 Postal service
U.S. Government 477 Michigan Ave., Detroit 15,328 Federal government
Henry Ford Health System 1 Ford Place, Detroit 15,139 Health care
St. John Health System 28000 Dequindre, Warren 14,288 Health care
City of Detroit 2 Woodward Ave., Detroit 13,762 City government
Trinity Health 27870 Cabot Dr., Novi 13,012 Health care
Beaumont Hostpitals 3601 W. 13 Mile Rd., Royal Oak 15,638 Health care
State of Michigan Cadillac Place, Detroit 11,177 State government
Detroit Medical Center 3800 John R., Detroit 11,003 Health care
Oakwood Healthcare Inc. 1 Parklane Blvd., Dearborn 7,515 Health care
DTE Energy 2000 Second Ave., Detroit 7,188 Energy company
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan 600 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit 7,007 Health care
Electronic Data Systems (EDS) 500 Renaissance Center, Detroit 6,711 Information technology
Comerica 500 Woodard Ave., Detroit 6,169 Financial services
Wayne State University 658 W. Kirby, Detroit 5,046 Education and research
Wayne County 600 Randolph, Detroit 5,091 County government
Visteon 1 Village Center Dr., Van Buren Township 4,497 Automotive
Johnson Controls 49200 Halyard Dr., Plymouth 4,205 Automotive
Quicken Loans 20555 Victor Parkway, Livonia 3,923 Financial services

Historic highlights

B-24s under construction at Ford's Willow Run line.

President Franklin Roosevelt referred to Detroit as the "Arsenal of Democracy." The Ford Motor Company played a pivotal role in the allied victory during World War I and World War II.[120] With Europe under siege, Henry Ford's genius would be turned to mass production for the war effort. Specifically, the B-24 Liberator bomber, still the most produced allied bomber in history, quickly shifted the balance of power. The aviation industry could produce, if everything went all right, one Consolidated Aircraft B-24 Bomber a day at an aircraft plant. Ford would show the world how to produce one B-24 an hour at a peak of 600 per month in 24 hour shifts. Ford's Willow Run factory broke ground in the April 1941. At the time, it was the largest assembly plant in the world, with over 3,500,000 square feet (330,000 m2). Edsel Ford, Henry Ford's son, under stress, died in the Spring of 1943 of stomach cancer prompting Henry Ford to re-assume day-to-day control of the Ford Motor Company. Mass production of the B-24 began by August 1943. Pilots and crew slept on the 1,300 cots waiting to fly the B-24s as they rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Willow Run facility.[121]


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References and further reading

  • Bak, Richard (2001). Detroit Across Three Centuries. Thompson Gale. ISBN 1585360015. 
  • Bak, Richard (2003). Henry and Edsel: The Creation of the Ford Empire. Wiley ISBN 0471234877
  • Ballard, Charles L. (2006). Michigan's Economic Future: Challenges and Opportunities. Michigan State University Press. ISBN 0870137964. 
  • Ballard, Charles L., Paul N. Courant, and Douglas C. Drake (2003). Michigan at the Millennium. Michigan State University Press. ISBN 087136682. 
  • Cantor, George (2005). Detroit: An Insiders Guide to Michigan. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472030922. 
  • Davis, Michael W. R. (2007). Detroit's Wartime Industry: Arsenal of Democracy (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0738551643. 
  • Fisher, Dale (2003). Building Michigan: A Tribute to Michigan's Construction Industry. Grass Lake, MI: Eyry of the Eagle Publishing. ISBN 1891143247. 
  • Fisher, Dale (2005). Southeast Michigan: Horizons of Growth. Grass Lake, MI: Eyry of the Eagle Publishing. ISBN 1891143255. 
  • Fisher, Dale (1994). Detroit: Visions of the Eagle. Grass Lake, MI: Eyry of the Eagle Publishing. ISBN 0-9615623-3-1. 
  • Gavrilovich, Peter and Bill McGraw (2000). The Detroit Almanac. Detroit Free Press. ISBN 0937247341. 
  • Hyde, Charles K. (2003). Riding the Roller Coaster: History of the Chrysler Corporation. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0814330916. 
  • Iacocca, Lee (2007). Where Have All the Leaders Gone. Scribner. ISBN 1416532471. 
  • Poremba, David Lee (2003). Detroit: A Motor City History. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-2435-2. 
  • Poremba, David Lee (2001). Detroit in Its World Setting (timeline). Wayne State University. ISBN 0-8143-2870-9. 
  • Smith, Michael and Tom Featherstone (2001). Labor in Detroit (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0738518964. 
  • Vlasic, Bill and Bradley A. Stertz (2000). Taken for a Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove off with Chrysler. William Morrow & Company. ISBN 0688173055. 
  • Woodford, Arthur M. (2001). This is Detroit 1701-2001. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2914-4. 

External links


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