It’s Election Day 2019 here in Macomb County, Michigan. One year from now, this area will try to do what it does best: pick the next president. The so-called “Reagan Democrats” were born here in the 1980s and Macomb has had a habit of picking winners in recent election cycles as well. The voters here have picked the winning candidate in five of the past six presidential elections. The only one they missed in that span was 2000, slightly favoring Al Gore over George W. Bush.
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As we look forward to what might happen here next year, a very important component of the local economy is starting to show signs of a slowdown. So far this year, more than 6,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Michigan even as the state continues to add positions in other areas. The unemployment rate is still historically quite low in Macomb County, where the auto industry is king. However, at an even 4%, it has ticked up from 3.7% last year.
Even so, some Democrats, including Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, still see Trump as the frontrunner.
“I don’t see the excitement here for any of the [Democrat] candidates,” Hackel says, adding that Trump “still resonates in Macomb County." Still, Hackel thinks that a Trump opponent would need to be “more of a moderate.”
What will residents here be thinking about when they head to the polls in 2020?
“Some of it is about jobs, but the reality is they tend to look at personality,” he says.
The voters FOX Business talked to here had opinions of President Trump ranging from “He’s just not good for the country” to “He’s done more for labor than maybe the last eight presidents combined.”
In terms of jobs, Fori Automation, a local maker of equipment for the automotive and aerospace industry uses humans mixed with robots but still can't find enough workers.
Company president Mike Beck tells “After the Bell” the average worker on his shop floor is over 50, so he will be facing the challenge of replacing retirees. Beck is bringing on a full-time recruiter for the first time as he looks to fill jobs that “require a higher level of expertise.” The company is also working with the county to educate young people about the manufacturing sector, which in 2019 is “clean,” “high-tech” and increasingly deploying robots and automation, the executive notes.
One year to go until Election Day 2020. One day to go for us in our series on “The Swing State Economy.” Next stop on Wednesday, Racine, Wisconsin.