Washtenaw County’s Unemployment Rate Lowest in Region

  • The unemployment rate across the state remained stagnant while the rate in the city of Detroit decreased (monthly);
  • Regionally, Washtenaw County had the lowest unemployment rate;
  • The number of employed Detroit residents dipped, but increased on an annual basis, (monthly);
  • The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeastern Michigan remains strong, and is expected to grow in 2017(monthly);
  • The Commodity Price Index remained at 50 (monthly);
  • The Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices continue to increase monthly and annually.

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According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan slightly increased to 5 in December of 2016 from 4.9 the previous month. Unemployment in the City of Detroit decreased though, from to 11.3 in October to 10.4 in November (December data was not yet available). The November unemployment rate for Detroit in 2016 was 0.2 points lower than it was in November of 2015.

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The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for November of 2016. Wayne County had the highest rate at 6.1 while Washtenaw County had the lowest at 3. Not only did Washtenaw County have the lowest rate in the region, but it also had the lowest rate in the state (Ottawa County in Michigan also had a 3 point unemployment rate). Second to Wayne County, in the region, came St. Clair County with an unemployment rate of 5.5

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In November of 2016 the number of employed Detroit residents decrease to 219,867, a small drop from the 220,033 employment number in October. Between November of 2016 and November of 2015 there was a total increase of 7,759 employed Detroit residents, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Between October and November the labor force in Detroit decreased by about 2,700. In October the labor force was reported to be 248,042 and in November it was reported to be 245,328.

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The Purchasing Manger’s Index (PMI) is a composite index derived from five indicators of economic activity: new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories. A PMI above 50 indicates the economy is expanding.

According to the most recent data released on Southeast Michigan’s Manager’s Index, the PMI for December 2016 was 61.9, an increase of 4.8 points from the prior month. The December 2016 PMI was an increase of 6.1 from the previous year. The PMI is considered to be strong, and expected to continue to grow into 2017, according to the Southeast Michigan’s Manager’s Index. This growth is expected, in part, because of an increased production index and growth in the labor market.

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The December 2016 Commodity Price Index remained unchanged at 50 points between November and December. However, it increased 2.8 points from December of 2015. The three month average for the Commodity Price Index was 49.

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Ann Arbor Has Highest Total Equalized Residential Value in Southeastern Michigan

There are four types of equalized property values: residential, industrial, commercial and agricultural. Residential property values are the largest contributor to the region’s total property values. In this post the 2016 total equalized values of residential properties are presented, meaning the values presented represent the municipality as a whole and not the average per residential property.

According to the State of Michigan, the equalized value of a property is the assessed value (which is about half the property’s market value and is set by the assessor) that has been adjusted by the County Board of Commissioners and the Michigan State Tax commission to ensure they are at the constitutional 50 percent level of assessment. All information presented in this post has been approved by the local county Board of Commissioners.

In the tri-county area (Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties) Oakland County experienced the largest percentage increase in total equalized property values between 2015 and 2016. Oakland County experienced a 7.4 percent increase while Macomb and Wayne both experienced about a 1 percent increase.

In total, Oakland County also had the largest equalized property values in 2016 at $65,084,851,114 (more than $130 billion in actual value); residential values made up $49,933,653,218 (more than $100 billion in actual value) of that. The City of Troy in Oakland County had the highest total residential equalized property value in the county at about $3.8 billion (about $7.6 billion in actual value). This value was higher than Detroit’s total equalized residential property value of $2.5 billion ($5 billion in actual value). Wayne County’s total property value was $44,884,066,562; residential equalized property values made up $29,476,949,702 of that. The community in Wayne County with the highest total residential equalized property value was Grosse Ile with about a $3.3 billion total ($6.6 billion in actual value). In Macomb County the total equalized property value for the county in 2016 was $30,605,374,212 ($61.2 billion in actual value), with residential equalized property values making up $22,477,768,361 of that ($44.8 billion in actual value). Sterling Heights in Macomb County was the municipality in that county with the largest total residential equalized property value at about $3.5 billion ($7 billion in actual value). In Washtenaw County, where the total residential equalized property value was $13,045,788,080 ($26 billion in actual value), Ann Arbor had the highest total equalized residential property value, in the county and the region, at about $4.25 billion ($8.5 billion in actual value).

The map below shows that the municipalities with the highest total equalized values are mainly located in the Metro-Detroit area where home values and median incomes are traditionally higher. There are exceptions though, such as Detroit, where the median income and household value are below communities like Grosse Ile, Troy and Sterling Heights. However, Detroit is geographically the largest municipality in the state at about 139 square miles. The communities in the region with the lowest total equalized residential property values for 2016 are the rural communities, with larger amounts of agricultural land, located on the edge of the region in St. Clair, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw communities. In St. Clair and Monroe counties there was not one municipality where the total equalized residential property value was above $1 billion ($2 billion in actual value), while in Oakland County majority of the communities had total residential property values at or above that threshold.

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Southeastern Michigan Economy Gaining Strength

  • The unemployment rate across the state remained stagnant while the rate in the city of Detroit decreased (monthly);
  • The number of employed Detroit residents increased, (monthly);
  • The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeastern Michigan remains strong, especially after increasing 7 points (monthly);
  • The Commodity Price Index remained the same (monthly);
  • The Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices continue to increase monthly and annually.

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According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan slightly increased to 4.7 in October of 2016 from 4.6 the previous month. However, unemployment in the City of Detroit decreased to 11.1 in September, from 12.4 the previous month. The September unemployment rate in 2016 was 0.4 points lower than it was in September of 2015.

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In September of 2016 the number of employed Detroit residents rose to 221,238, an increase of 2,314 from August. Between September of 2016 and September of 2015 there was a total increase of 10,012 employed Detroit residents, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

While the number of employed Detroit residents increased between August and September the labor force decreased by 1,067. In August the labor force was reported to be 250,047 and in September it was reported to be 248,971.

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The Purchasing Manger’s Index (PMI) is a composite index derived from five indicators of economic activity: new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories. A PMI above 50 indicates the economy is expanding.

According to the most recent data released on Southeast Michigan’s Manager’s Index, the PMI for October 2016 was 67.2, an increase of 7 points from the prior month. The October 2016 PMI was an increase of 8.4 from the previous year.  With this increase, the PMI is considered to be strong, particularly because it has remained above 50 since June of 2014. Much of this growth, according to the Institute of Supply Management of Southeastern Michigan, is due to the resurgence of the auto sector in the region.

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The October 2016 Commodity Price Index decreased 0.2 points from September but increased 3.2 points from the prior year. The three month average for the Commodity Price Index was 48, which the Institute of Supply Management of Southeastern Michigan states is good for short-term profits.

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The above charts show the Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. The index includes the price for homes that have sold but does not include the price of new home construction, condos, or homes that have been remodeled.

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $109,660 in August 2016. This was an increase from $103,750 from August of 2015 and an increase from $98,720 from August of 2014.

Discrepancies Exist Between Detroit Demolitions and Vacancy Rates

Since January 1, 2014 the City of Detroit reports on its Demolition Program webpage that there have been 10,667 demolitions of vacant buildings as part of its blight removal program, as shown in the maps below. These demolitions were made possible through the Detroit Demolition Program, which receives federal funding to aid in the removal of blight. Just last week it was announced the U.S. Department of Treasury released an additional $42 million in funds to support the program. However, that funding, and the program, was suspended from August through just a few weeks ago while the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority worked to create new guidelines for the demolition program. These guidelines create greater oversight by limiting the number of houses in a bid package, requiring more transparency in what subcontractors are used and having state employees working in the Detroit Land Bank and Building Authority offices, according to the Detroit News.

According to the City of Detroit’s demolition project page, there are 2,459 structures in the demolition pipeline, meaning they are scheduled to be demolished in the near future, and 3,096 that have already been demolished in 2016. The first two maps below show the 10,667 demolitions that have occurred in the City, by Census Tract, since January 1, 2014. The data used to create those two maps was provided from the City of Detroit’s Open Data Portal.

The third map shows vacancies in the City of Detroit, as reported by the U.S. Postal Service.

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The first two maps above illustrate how certain areas of the City experience much lower rates of demolition than others. The third map shows what the vacancy rates were in the City of Detroit as of June 2016. In comparing the first two maps with the third we are able to identify discrepancies there are between where demolitions are occurring and where vacancy rates are the highest.

When examining the first two maps we see on the City’s northwest side (in the Evergreen/Rosedale area), within one Census Tract there were 295 demolitions between January 1, 2014 and October 13, 2016. The third map shows that as of June 2016 there was a 35.9 percent vacancy rate in that Census Tract, according to the U.S. Postal Service. There was only one other Census Tract in the City that had more than 200 demolitions. This Census Tract was located in the Cody/Rouge area on the west side of the City. This Census Tract had a vacancy rate of 37.5 percent in June of 2016, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

The Census Tract with the highest vacancy rate in June of 2016 is just east of Groesbeck Avenue (M-97); it had a vacancy rate of 50.3. However, according to the demolition data there have only been 15 demolitions in that Census Tract since January 1, 2014. Overall, this pocket of the City (northeastern area of the City along M-97) had vacancy rates ranging between 38 and 51 percent while the number of demolitions per Census Tract, in general, ranged between 15 and 54. There were exceptions, such as the two neighboring Census Tracts just east of I-94 where the vacancy rates were 33.6 percent and 31.6 percent and the number of demolitions in both areas were among the highest in the City, 147 and 145 respectively.

Areas in the City with among the lowest vacancy and demolition rates are Midtown, Downtown and Corktown. Also, Midtown and Downtown have some of the City’s newest housing units. Other areas in the City with the lowest demolition numbers are located on and around the Woodward Corridor, both north and south of Highland Park. The Palmer Park area, and the neighborhood to the west had several Census Tract where there were less than 10 demolitions in the time frame mapped. This area, in general, also had lower residential vacancy rates in June of 2016, ranging between 6 and 15 percent by Census Tract.

Near the Woodward Corridor though there are three Census Tracts, all of which border Highland Park, that had between 121-200 demolitions with vacancy rates for those three Census Tracts ranging between 20 and 35.

While a great deal of blight removal has already occurred in the City, there is still plenty of work to do. According to the City’s website, the goal is to remove 40,000 blighted properties within an eight year time frame. This post shows certain areas where there have been high rates of demolition in areas with high vacancy rates. However, this post also shows the opposite-Census Tracts with high vacancy rates and low demolition numbers. As the City moves forward with reaching is 40,000 structure demolition goal vacancy rates should continuously be monitored to help determine demolition priorities.

Michigan’s Most Financially Struggling Cities Experience Largest Decreases in Revenue Sharing Funds

In comparing total Revenue Sharing Funds distributed throughout Southeastern Michigan between 2006 and 2016 we see that the city of Detroit, and those surrounding it, have suffered the most significant loss in Revenue Sharing Funds.

The City of Detroit experienced a 31 percent loss in total Revenue Sharing Funds between 2006 and 2016, without adjusting for inflation. This loss was the second largest in the region.

As discussed in our previous post, total Revenue Sharing in Michigan combines two payments, one for Constitutional Revenue Sharing and one for Statutory Revenue Sharing. The Constitutional Revenue Sharing formula is part of the State’s Constitution while Statutory Revenue Sharing formulas are subject to regular legislative modification.

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In 2006 the City of Detroit received $281,074,148 in total Revenue Sharing Funds and in 2016 that number was $194,402,506, without adjusting for inflation. When adjusting for inflation at a rate of 19.5 percent the funds Detroit received in 2006 are equivalent to $335,883,607 in today’s dollars. This means there is a $141,481,101 difference between the amount of total Revenue Sharing Funds Distributed to Detroit in 2006 and 2016.

As noted, Detroit and the municipalities surrounding it experienced the largest decreases in Revenue Sharing Funds when comparing 2006 and 2016. In Livingston County we see that only two municipalities-Fowlerville and the City of Howell-experienced a decrease in the amount of funds distributed to them when comparing 2006 and 2016. Every other municipality in that County experienced an increase between 3 percent (City of Brighton) and 68 percent(Marion Township), without adjusting for inflation.

In Wayne County, the opposite was true when comparing the amount of funds distributed for 2006 and 2016; 81 percent of the municipalities in the region’s largest County experienced a decrease in the amount of Revenue Sharing Funds received. As noted, Detroit experienced one of the largest decreases, both in the county and in the region. It was Highland Park though that experienced the overall largest decrease in Wayne County, and the region, though. The funds Highland Park received in 2006 were 33 percent greater than what it received in 2016, without adjusting for inflation. When adjusting for inflation we see the decrease increase to about 39 percent. Other financially struggling communities, such as Ecorse an Inkster, also experienced a greater decrease in Revenue Sharing funds than many of their counterparts. Ecorse and Inkster both experienced a 25 percent decrease when comparing 2006 and 2016 funds, without adjusting for inflation. Also, it should be noted, Highland Park, Ecorse and Inkster were recipients of the FY 2016 $5 million Financially Distressed Cities, Villages and Townships Grant Program. Without being recipients of this grant the decrease in Revenue Sharing would have been greater for them.

Macomb Township is a notable community that has experienced Revenue Sharing Fund increases. Without adjusting for inflation this growing Macomb County township experienced a 77 percent increase when comparing 2006 and 2016 funds. In 2000 the township had a population of 50,478 and in 2010 that number was 79,580.

In order to better understand the shift in payment distribution below are the Constitutional and Statutory formulas for 2006 and 2016. Also presented is how we calculated in the inflation rate to best show how 2006 Revenue Sharing payments compare to those made in 2016.

 

Total Revenue Sharing Formula=Constitutional Payment + Statutory Payment

 

2006

Constitutional Revenue Sharing Example:

For the 2006 Constitutional Revenue Sharing the distribution rate was 68.6619. For a municipalities’ total annual Constitutional Revenue Sharing payment to be calculated, the total rate is multiplied by the 2000 population for each city, village and township. 

  • 2006 Statutory Revenue Sharing Payment=2000 population X 68.6619
  • 2006 Detroit Constitutional Revenue Sharing Payment of $65,176,004 = 949,231 X 68.6619

Statutory Revenue Sharing Example:

The Statutory Revenue Sharing Formula for 2006 is based on the previous year’s Statutory Revenue Sharing funds. For 2006, the formula states that a municipality will receive about 99 percent of the Statutory Revenue Sharing Funds it received in 2005.

  • 2006 Statutory Revenue Sharing Payment=2005 Statutory Revenue Sharing payment x 86467
  • 2006 Detroit Statutory Payment= $220,151,807 x .9886467=$217,652,357
  • Actual Statutory Funds Distributed in 2006: $215,898,144

***When using the formulas Detroit should have received $282,828,361 in total Revenue Sharing Funds in 2006, instead it received $281,074,148. According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, the amount of funds distributed is based on actual revenues received by the State and the State’s budget. This could, at least in part, explain the difference in funds received and funds expected.

 

2016

Constitutional Revenue Sharing Example:

For the 2016 Constitutional Revenue Sharing the distribution rate was 75.694800 For a municipalities’ total annual Constitutional Revenue Sharing payment to calculated, the total rate is multiplied by the 2010 population for each city, village and township.

  • 2016 Constitutional Revenue Sharing Payment= 2010 Population x 75.6984
  • 2016 Detroit Constitutional Revenue Sharing Payment of $53,939,054= 712,552 x 75.698400

 

Statutory Revenue Sharing Example:

The 2016 Statutory Revenue Sharing Formula is based off the amount of Statutory funds a municipality received in 2010, along with their compliance with Accountability measures. If these requirements were, met a municipality was eligible to receive up to 78.51044 percent of their 2010 total statutory payment, or a payment equal to the population multiplied by $2.64659-whichever was greater. The formula for 2010 statutory payments was the total amount a municipality received in FY 2009 multiplied by 88.94 percent, less the FY 2010 Constitutional amount, multiplied by the FY 2010 statutory payment percentage, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

  • 2016 Statutory Revenue Sharing Payment=2010 Statutory Revenue Sharing payment x .7851044 (max eligible percentage of 2010 Statutory Payment)
  • 2016 Detroit Statutory Payment= $178,910,540 x .7851044=$140,463,452

 

Inflation Adjustment

To better compare the 2006 Revenue Sharing Funds distributed versus the 2016 Revenue Sharing funds we applied the Consumer Price Index inflation rate of 19.5 percent.

2006 Constitutional Revenue Sharing Inflation Adjustment Example

  • Adjusting for inflation= 2000 population X [(68.6619 X .1950)+ 68.6619]
  • Adjusting for inflation= 949,231 X [(68.6619 X .195) + 68.6619 ]= $77,885,324

2006 Statutory Revenue Sharing Inflation Adjustment Example:

  • Adjusting for inflation=2005 Statutory Revenue Sharing payment x [(.9886467 x .195) + .988647]
  • Adjusting for inflation=$220,151,807x [(.9886467 x .195) + .988647] =$260,094,567

 

Overall, we see that some of Michigan’s most finically hit cities have experienced the greatest decline in state funding. While population does play an evident role in the amount of Revenue Sharing funds a community receives, we also know that Statutory Revenue Sharing Funds are diverted from the local municipalities to instead support the state budget. In addition, while at first glance distribution rates for the Constitutional Revenue Sharing may appear larger now than in the past, these rates do not account for inflation. For example, the 2006 Constitutional Distribution Rate of 66.6619 is equivalent to 82.0509 when adjust for inflation in 2016; this is about seven points higher than the actual 2016 Constitutional Distribution Rate. This further demonstrates how communities throughout Southeastern Michigan, and the state as a whole, have been experiencing a loss in Revenue Sharing Funds.

Southeastern Michigan Revenue Sharing Declines Between 2015 and 2016

Municipalities across Michigan have experienced a decline in Revenue Sharing funds in recent years as monies have been diverted toward the State’s General Fund. Between Fiscal Year 2015 and 2016 the municipalities in Southeastern Michigan experienced an average decline in revenue sharing of 0.59 percent. For Fiscal Year 2017 though, the state is expecting to increase revenue sharing monies by 1.2 percent in Southeastern Michigan, on average. The purpose of this post is to show how Revenue Sharing payments declined between 2015 and 2016 and how the capita disbursement varies between communities.

The funding map below refers to the total amount of Revenue Sharing each municipality received in 2016-this total combines both the Constitutional and Revenue Sharing Funds. For the Constitutional Revenue Sharing Payment there is a total distribution rate, which has declined over the last several years. For FY 2016 the rate was 75.694800 and in FY 2015 that rate was 76.1932l; in FY 2017 it is projected to be 76. 921299. For a municipalities’ total annual Constitutional Revenue Sharing payment to calculated, the total rate is multiplied by the 2010 population for each city, village and township, despite the fact some municipalities’ populations may have increased since then. The state determines the Constitutional Rate using 15 percent of the gross 4-percent sales-tax collections (the other 2 percent of Michigan’s gross sales-tax collections are designated for educational purposes). This means 15 percent of state sales tax revenue should be distributed to Michigan’s municipalities. Using Detroit as an example, the 2010 population was 712,552. This is multiplied by 75.698400, bringing the total Constitutional Revenue Sharing amount that Detroit was to be awarded in 2016 to $53,939,054. Detroit’s Constitutional Revenue Sharing payment for 2016 accounted for about 28 percent of the Revenue Sharing Funds it was awarded.

Example:

  • 2016 Constitutional Revenue Sharing Payment= 2010 Population x 75.6984
  • 2016 Detroit Constitutional Revenue Sharing Payment of $53,939,054= 712,552 x 75.698400

In addition to Constitutional Revenue Sharing, there is also Statutory Revenue Sharing, which for Fiscal Years 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been called CVT (City, Village and Township) Payments. For 2015 and 2016, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury, payments were based on whether or not a municipality met specific Accountability and Transparency requirements. If these requirements were, met a municipality was eligible to receive up to 78.51044 percent of their 2010 total statutory payment, or a payment equal to the population multiplied by $2.64659-whichever was greater. The formula for 2010 statutory payments was the total amount a municipality received in FY 2009 multiplied by 88.94 percent, less the FY 2010 Constitutional amount, multiplied by the FY 2010 statutory payment percentage, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

For the City of Detroit it was awarded $140,463,452 in Statutory Revenue Sharing in 2016. This number was calculated by multiplying its total 2010 Statutory Revenue Sharing payment of $178,910,540 by .7851044 (max eligible percentage of 2010 Statutory Payment). In total, Detroit’s Statutory Revenue Sharing Payment accounted for 72 percent of its total Revenue Sharing Payment.

Example:

  • 2016 Statutory Revenue Sharing Payment=2010 Statutory Revenue Sharing payment x .7851044 (max eligible percentage of 2010 Statutory Payment)
  • 2016 Detroit Statutory Payment= $178,910,540 x .7851044=$140,463,452

While Michigan’s Constitutional Revenue Sharing remains enshrined in the State’s Constitution, Statutory Revenue Sharing formulas are subject to regular legislative modification.  Constitutional Revenue Sharing rates can decrease when overall revenue declines, as it tends to during recessions, or when the population of a municipality declines. However, Constitutional Revenue Sharing payments are not subject to the changes Statutory Revenue Sharing payments experience. For example, just between 2014 and 2015 Statutory Revenue Sharing payments went from being called Economic Vitality Incentive Program Payments, where a municipality could receive up to 76.18459 percent of its 2010 Statutory Payment if it met three conditions (Accountability and Transparency, Consolidation of Services, and Employee Compensation) to City, Village and Township Revenue Sharing Payments. As noted above, the current Statutory Payment formula is based on whether or not a municipality met only Accountability and Transparency requirements. Also the percentage rate is 78.51044 percent of a communities’ 2010 total statutory payment. As noted above, there were no changes between the 2015 and 2016 Statutory Revenue Sharing formula.

As shown below, Revenue Sharing payments vary between municipalities, at least in part, due to the fact the Constitutional Revenue Sharing rates are based off of population numbers. Revenue Sharing payments for FY 2016 ranged between about $20,000 (Emmett Village in St. Clair County with a population of 323) to above $194 million (Detroit with a population of about 700,000). As the map shows, Detroit had the largest Revenue Sharing payment in the region, with Ann Arbor, Warren and Sterling Heights coming in behind Detroit for payment amounts. The more rural communities, with the lesser populations, also received lesser total Revenue Sharing payments.

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As noted, the average overall Revenue Sharing decline in Southeastern Michigan between 2015 and 2016 was .59 percent. While the map below shows the overall Revenue Sharing payment change between 2015 and 2016, the contributing factor was the decrease in the Constitutional Revenue Sharing rate between 2015 and 2016; the Statutory Revenue Sharing formula remained the same. Also, one of the more notable trends demonstrated in the second map, below, is that municipalities in the region currently, or previously, deemed financially unstable experienced less of a decline in Revenue Sharing than majority of the other municipalities in the region. This is due to FY 2016 $5 million Financially Distressed Cities, Villages and Townships Grant Program, which was created to help financially struggling municipalities move toward financial stability. As part of this program, the Michigan Legislature mandated that a single municipality should not receive more than $2 million. Cities such as Ecorse, Inkster and Highland Park were recipients of this grant, boosting the total amount of Revenue Sharing funds they were appropriated.

Inkster experienced a .38 percent decline, Ecorse experienced a .34 percent decline, and Highland Park experienced a .23 percent decline. Although Detroit was not a recipient of this grant, it experienced a .18 percent decline; the smallest in the region.

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In 2016 the projected amount of Revenue Sharing Detroit was to receive was $194,402,506, as demonstrated in the first map above. This translates to $279.54 per person in the city, which is shown in the map below. That number was calculated by taking the projected 2016 Revenue Sharing dollars and dividing it by the most recent population numbers provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. The only other community in the region that received a higher per capita amount of Revenue Sharing dollars was Oxford Township in Oakland County ($383). In total, there were 27 municipalities throughout the region with a per capita Revenue Sharing amount above $100 per person.

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In the our next post, we will take a deeper look as to how Revenue Sharing payments have declined over time in Southeastern Michigan. We know that payments have declined over the last several years and will be able to see some of the hardest hit communities in Southeastern Michigan.

USPS: Detroit’s Vacancy Rate at 22.5%

There were 2,363 fewer vacant Detroit residential properties between June 2015 and June 2016, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Between March 2016 and June 2016 the number of residential vacancies decreased by 1,282. Overall in the month of June of 2016 there were 80,643 vacant residential addresses, which is equivalent to a 22.5 percent residential vacancy rate, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Also, for June 2016 the total number of residential addresses decreased by 4,630 from June 2015 and by 2,030 from March 2016.

Although there was a decrease in the number of vacant addresses, the percentage of vacant addresses in Detroit has remained in the 22.5-22.9 percent range since June of 2015. The data presented below shows that residential vacancy rates have experienced an overall increase since September 2012, when the U.S. Postal Service reported Detroit’s residential vacancy rate was 21.9 percent. However, there has been a decrease since March of 2015 when there was a peak residential vacancy rate of 23.5 percent. While the residential vacancy rate in Detroit has increased since September 2012 the number of residential addresses has experienced an overall decline of 6,441. The decrease occurred while the total of number of vacant residential addresses increased by 1,026 in the same time period (going from 79,612 in September 2012 to 80,643 in June 2016) . However, similar to the vacancy rate, the total number of vacant Detroit residential addresses peaked in March of 2015 and has since started to decline.

In addition to these changes, in June of 2016 there was a decline in the number of “no stat” addresses; that number decreased by 1,992 in the last year. Mail carriers denote properties as being either “vacant” or “no-stat.” Carriers on urban routes mark a property as vacant once no resident has collected mail for 90 days. Addresses are classified as “no-stat” for a variety of reasons. Addresses in rural areas that appear to be vacant for 90 days are labeled no-stat, as are addresses for properties that are still under construction. Urban addresses are labeled as no-stat when the carrier decides it is unlikely to be occupied again any time soon — meaning that both areas where property is changing to other uses and areas of severe decline may have no-stat addresses.

The maps below demonstrate both the overall Detroit address vacancy rates (including residential and business vacancy rates) by Census Tract for June 2016 and the change in vacancy rates between June 2016 and June 2015. In total, there were about 70 Census Tracts in Detroit with total vacancy rates above 33 percent. The Census Tract with the largest increase in its vacancy rate between June 2015 and June 2016 was located in Southwest Detroit and had a total vacancy rate increase of 11.1 percent.

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Detroit Unemployment Increases, Along with Number Employed and Labor Force

  • From April to May 2016, the unemployment rate across the state and within the city of Detroit increased (monthly);
  • Overall, however, the number of employed Detroit residents increased (monthly);
  • The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeastern Michigan decreased from May to June 2016 (monthly);
  • Commodity Price Index also decreased for Southeastern Michigan (monthly);
  • Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices continue to gradually increase on a month-to-month basis.

Unemployment

According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan increased to 4.5 percent in May 2016; the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in April. During this same period, unemployment in the City of Detroit also increased, but at a higher rate. Detroit’s unemployment increased from 9.1 percent in April to 9.8 percent in May.

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In May of 2016 the number of employed Detroit residents rose to 218,656, an increase of 1,577 from April. Between May of 2016 and May of 2015 there was a total increase of 8,756 employed Detroit residents, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Along with the the number of employed Detroit residents increasing over the last year, so has the labor force. Between April and May of 2016 the labor force increased by 3,784 and between May of 2015 and May 2016 the labor force increased by 803. In May of 2016 the labor force recorded by the the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget for the city of Detroit was 242,432.

Auto Manufacturing employment

The above chart shows the number of people employed in the auto manufacturing industry in the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (Detroit-Warren-Livonia) from May 2015 to May 2016. In that time frame the number of people employed in this industry decreased by 900, from 94,200 to 93,300.

PMI

The Purchasing Manger’s Index (PMI) is a composite index derived from five indicators of economic activity: new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories. A PMI above 50 indicates the economy is expanding.

According to the most recent data released on Southeast Michigan’s Manager’s Index, the PMI for June 2016 was 58.8, a decrease of 1.1 points from the prior month. The May 2016 PMI was a decrease of 3.2 from May of 2015.  Although there was a decrease, the PMI is still considered strong because of new orders, employment and production. There was a decrease in finished goods, which caused the decrease, along with a decrease in the commodity price index, which is shown below.

Commodity Price Index

The June 2016 Commodity Price Index decreased 7.1 points from May and 6.9 points from the prior year. According to the ISM-Southeastern Michigan PMI the Commodity Price decreased between May and June, however fuel, paper and plastics went up in price.

Detroit Home Prices

The above charts show the Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. The index includes the price for homes that have sold but does not include the price of new home construction, condos, or homes that have been remodeled.

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $103,780 in March 2016. This was an increase from $97,900 from March of 2015 and an increase from $93,780 from February of 2014.

Monroe, St. Clair Counties Rank Highest for Green Infrastructure; Majority is Agricultural Land

In Southeastern Michigan there was about 180,000 acres of green infrastructure in 2014, according to the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), and the regional planning agency is looking to improve and grow that number. This green infrastructure represents both natural ecosystems (wetlands, forests and parks), agricultural land and constructed versions, such as community gardens and bioswales. Both Monroe and St. Clair counties had the highest percentage of total green infrastructure in 2014 at 67 percent. Wayne County, both including and excluding Detroit, had the lowest percentage of green infrastructure. Excluding Detroit, Wayne County was made up of 32 percent of green infrastructure; including Detroit Wayne County was made up of 30 percent green infrastructure. In general, one can think of green infrastructure as the inverse of developed land, where houses, businesses, roads and other infrastructure exists.

Of this overall green infrastructure it is important to identify what it is comprised of. Below we will see how the tree canopy varies from county to county and how these variations are affected by the presence of parks and agricultural land.

The data provided for this post was found in SEMCOG’s 2014 Green Infrastructure Vision document.

Metro-Detroit Green Infrastructure

In total, Oakland County had the highest percentage of overall tree canopy at 44 percent; the county’s tree canopy made up 86 percent of its total green infrastructure. Oakland and Livingston counties were the only two in the region that had a tree canopy above the American Forest’s overall standard of 40 percent. The American Forest is the country’s oldest conservation non-profit, and SEMCOG bases its green infrastructure goals on their standards.

The county with the lowest overall tree canopy was Monroe; it had a tree canopy of 20 percent. This 20 percent of total tree canopy made up 28 percent of its total green infrastructure. This is largely because of the greater portion of land devoted to agriculture, as discussed below.

The city of Detroit had a total tree canopy of 16 percent, which is below American Forest’s standard for tree coverage in an urban area. Nevertheless this represents 85 percent of Detroit’s green infrastructure. American Forest calls for a 25 percent tree canopy coverage in an urban area. In a suburban residential the organization’s standard is 50 percent, and in a central business district that standard is 15 percent.

Metro-Detroit Tree Canopy

Metro-Detroit Tree Canopy and Green Infrastructure

While tree coverage is an important aspect of green infrastructure, it is not the only thing that can make a community “more green.” As discussed above, Monroe County had the highest percentage of overall green infrastructure yet the lowest percentage of tree canopy coverage. As shown below, this is, in part, because there was more than 123,000 acres of agricultural land in Monroe County in 2014. Monroe County had the highest amount of agricultural land in 2014 in the region followed by St. Clair County, which had about 107,000 acres of agricultural land. St. Clair County, like Monroe County, was made up of 67 percent green infrastructure. According to SEMCOG, Monroe County ranks seventh in the state in the total number of acres of vegetables (6,707) and corn, soy and wheat (169,792). St. Clair County ranked sixth in the state in the number of farms producing organic products and eighth in state for the total number of acres of soybeans it produced in 2014 (64,224).

According to SEMCOG, agricultural land is defined as “rural land used with the growing of food as the primary function, but can also provide ecological benefits.” SEMCOG classified Detroit as having 0 acres of agriculture, but this does not include the number of community gardens, which have been growing in the city through individual and organizational efforts.

While Detroit had 0 acres of agriculture land, Wayne County had 8,726 acres of agricultural land, which was the smallest amount in the region.

Metro-Detroit Agriculture Land

For total acreage of agricultural land in the region, Oakland County had amongst the smallest amount of coverage in the region but for wetland coverage it had the greatest amount. Oakland County had 77,000 acres of wetland in 2014. St. Clair (62,000 acres), Livingston (60,000) and Washtenaw (53,000) counties all had more wetland coverage than Wayne County. However, the 41,900 acres of wetland coverage in Wayne County was nearly five times the amount of agricultural land in the county. Additionally, of those 41,900 acres, 100 were located in Detroit.

Monroe County had the least amount of wetland coverage at 20,000, which is about 100,000 less acreage than it had of agricultural land.

Metro-Detroit Wetlands

Another factor into the total amount of green infrastructure present in a county is park land, which includes city, country, metro and state parks. Oakland County had the highest amount of park acreage at 61,053. Oakland County is home to five state park/recreation areas, three metroparks, 13 county parks and numerous local parks at the municipal level. Washtenaw County had the second highest acreage of park coverage at 33,499 acres, which was nearly half of Oakland County’s coverage. Like Oakland County, Washtenaw County is home to three metroparks and 13 county parks. Washtenaw County also has 20 nature preserves, numerous parks at the local level and nine state park/recreation areas.

Wayne County had about 26,000 acres of total park acreage, about 5,000 of which was located in Detroit. Belle Isle made up nearly a fifth of Detroit’s park acreage; it is 982 acres.

Metro-Detroit Parks

The amount of green infrastructure established in a community and a region is important because it can not only serve as a catalyst for economic growth but also because it serves as the base for ensuring citizens have access to clean water and air, fresh food and amenities that promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles. There is a recognition that additional green infrastructure is needed in Southeastern Michigan, which is why SEMCOG has created a green infrastructure vision. This vision aims to benchmark the current green infrastructure in the region and then identify policies that will allow for stronger and more connected infrastructure networks, more accessibility and cleaner air and water quality.

Housing Prices Continue to Increase in Metro-Detroit

  • From March to April 2016, the unemployment rate across the state and within the city of Detroit declined (monthly);
  • The number of employed Detroit residents increased (monthly);
  • The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeastern Michigan increased from March to April 2016 (monthly);
  • Commodity Price Index remained stabled for Southeastern Michigan (monthly)
  • Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices have increased by about $10,000 since February of 2014.

Detroit Unemployment

According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan decreased to 4.3 percent in April 2016; the unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in March. During this same period, unemployment in the City of Detroit marginally increased from 11 percent in March to 9.1 percent in April.\Detroit Employment

In Spring of 2016 the number of employed Detroit residents began to stabilize. In March of 2016 the number employed was 217,027 and in April of 2016 that number slightly increased to 217,078. In April of 2015 employment numbers for Detroit residents began to rise, and have since peaked.

Although the sheer number of Detroit residents employed has increased, data also shows that the Detroit labor force decreased to 238,790 in April 2016; it was 243,813 the month prior.

Auto Employment

The above chart shows the number of people employed in the auto manufacturing industry in the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (Detroit-Warren-Livonia) from April 2015 to April 2016. In that time frame the number of people employed in this industry has increased by 800, from 93,400 to 94,200.

PMI

The Purchasing Manger’s Index (PMI) is a composite index derived from five indicators of economic activity: new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories. A PMI above 50 indicates the economy is expanding.

According to the most recent data released on Southeast Michigan’s Manager’s Index, the PMI for April 2016 was 62.7, an increase of 3.6 points from the prior month. The April 2016 PMI was a decrease of 3.7 from April of 2015.  Despite the decrease from April 2015 to April 2016, the current PMI represents a growing economy that is currently being pushed forward because of improvements in new orders, employment and production.

Commodity Price Index

The Commodity Price Index, which is a weighted average of selected commodity prices, was recorded at 50 points in both March and April of 2016. The April 2016 Commodity Price Index is a decrease of 7.9 points from the prior year.

Detroit Home Prices

The Commodity Price Index, which is a weighted average of selected commodity prices, was recorded at 50 points in both March and April of 2016. The April 2016 Commodity Price Index is a decrease of 7.9 points from the prior year.