Detroit’s Top Employer No Longer a Government Entity

Rock Ventures takes the top jobs slot

The emergence of Dan Gilbert as a major employer in the city of Detroit has been meteoric.

Gilbert’s prominence began in 2010 when he moved his Quicken Loans headquarters to the city. But two years ago, none of the companies under Gilbert’s “Rock Ventures” umbrella, including Quicken Loans, were on the list of the city’s top 10 employers.

That changed by 2015 when Rock Ventures became Detroit’s top employer with 11,524 people on its payroll. The company’s website says it is “engaged in economic and real estate development, marketing and communications, philanthropy and government relations.”

The city publishes a list of the largest employers in Detroit in its annual audited report, and the 2015 edition was released late last month.

In 2014, Quicken Loans was the city of Detroit’s third-largest employer with 9,192 employees. Detroit Medical Center held the top spot in 2014 with 11,497 jobs.

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Detroit’s city government and school district have long been near the top of the list of the largest employers. But payrolls at both have declined as the city spiraled toward bankruptcy and Detroit Public Schools experienced an exodus of students. The city’s bankruptcy occurred in 2014, and in June of this year, the Michigan Legislature approved a $617 million bailout for the school district.

In 2013, the city of Detroit was the largest employer with 11,396 jobs, with DPS coming in second with 10,951. Two years later, the city of Detroit fell to third with 9,137 employees and DPS dropped to sixth with 6,258.

In 2009, Detroit Public Schools was the city’s largest employer with 13,750 employees.


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