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Report: Tech jobs, Millennial population growing in Detroit area

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We ranked #21 in Tech Talent

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

It’s easy to see how downtown Detroit has changed in the past five years. Buildings that long sat vacant are now filled with workers, residential units fill up quickly, and companies continue to move offices downtown. The tech market is strong here, and according to a new report from CBRE, it’s grown 40 percent from 2011-16.

The 2017 Scoring Tech Talent report looks at 13 unique metrics, including tech talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth, and market outlook for both office and apartment rent cost growth. It ranked 50 U.S. and Canadian markets according to their ability to attract and grow tech talent. Detroit came in at #21 on the list.

Tech employment in Detroit is now at 78,510, a 40.7 percent increase from 2011. The non-tech sector only grew by 18.9 percent in that time.

Millennials factor into this report, as well. For a long time in Michigan, it seemed like college graduates would either move to Chicago, New York, or another big city to start their careers. But Detroit is more appealing now, and the Millennial population is growing. The city has seen a 9.2 percent increase in its 20-29-year-old population since 2010, ranking it sixth in millennial population growth in large U.S. cities, according to the study.

A few other key factors in the report include:

  • Wage growth increasing 9.4 percent from 2011-2016, with a current average of $83,482.
  • Detroit saw a 21 percent increase in tech degrees from 2011-15, growing to an annual 4,608 annual completions in 2015.
  • Detroit’s looking like a strong tech-job creator and tech talent attractor, adding 1,555 more tech jobs than graduates during the past five years.
  • Detroit’s office rents increased 5 percent to $18.40 and vacancy declined to 16.7 percent from 26.9 percent from Q1 2012.

“Downtown Detroit is experiencing a lot of momentum right now,” said John Latessa, president of the Midwest Division at CBRE. “The residential and daytime population has increased significantly. A large portion of these new residents are millennials and are very attractive to tech firms and startups. Detroit will continue to attract more tech activity in the future.”

The full report can be downloaded here.