The Right Place 2018 Economic Outlook for West Michigan is forecasting a strong economy in 2018. The forecast was made Thursday morning at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids. Providing the forecast was Dr. Jim Robey of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. He says, while it will remain strong into 2018, it will be for the West Michigan economy to keep the pace it grew in the previous year.
“I think that there’s a challenge, for the Grand Rapids and West Michigan area that they had so much success this year that it will be tough to replicate that for next year," Robey said. But continue to see a strong economy, in West Michigan with growth in manufacturing, construction, businesses and personal services.”
As the year draws to a close, employment grew by about 13,500 jobs in 2017, while the Grand Rapids area has an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, far below the national average. Dr. Robey said, those numbers should hold steady.
“Right now we have about 21,000 people available for work in the Grand Rapids market. So it’s a nice portfolio that Grand Rapids has, that I imagine many other places wish they had.”
Robey adds however, that attracting new and skilled labor for West Michigan manufacturing jobs will be key to maintaining a strong economy beyond 2018.