economic development

Daniel Boothe

Local economic development organization The Right Place unveiled their strategic 3 year plan that hopes to bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the West Michigan economy over the next 3 years. 

$500 million in new capital investment, $150 million in new retainable payroll, and 4200 new jobs are the goals of The Right Place by 2019. While some local economists have forecast a West Michigan recession by 2019, Right Place Birgit Klohs says she believes those projections are still attainable.

The economy in Grand Rapids for 2017 will continue to grow, however new employment will fall short of expectations. That’s the short answer after the 2017 West Michigan economic forecast was announced Tuesday morning.

The 2017 Economic Outlook for West Michigan was held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Michigan, as local economic developer The Right Place and the Upjohn Institute hosted the annual event.

The Right Place President and CEO Birgit Klohs began the forecast by speaking first to the growth Grand Rapids has already experienced.

Michigan would no longer require that someone be inside a self-driving car while testing it on public roads under bills advancing in the Legislature.

The change won unanimous Senate approval Wednesday and could reach Gov. Rick Snyder's desk within months.

The legislation is designed to keep the auto industry's home state ahead of the curve on autonomous vehicles.

A researcher wouldn't have to be present in a self-driving test car.

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 /

The state with a history of manufacturing motors and Motown music is making more room for mustard.

The Holland Sentinel reported Thursday that the Kraft Heinz Co. plant in the western Michigan city of Holland is expected to be the home of all Grey Poupon production in about a month.

The plant also plans to expand production of yellow mustard.

The moves come amid a $17.2 million investment in the longtime Holland plant and addition of 50 employees.

Hillary Clinton speaks in Warren on Thursday, August 11.
Cheyna Roth

A big section of Michigan’s economy is being targeted by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 98.2 percent of businesses in Michigan are small businesses. The SBA defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees.

Clinton released a plan for small businesses Tuesday that she says will make it easier for entrepreneurs to start their small businesses.

Donald Trump campaign photo; Cheyna Roth /; Michigan Public Radio Network

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton were both in Michigan this month to deliver speeches on their plans for the economy.

But they both presented different pictures of the state of things here in Michigan, where the auto industry and manufacturing tanked during the Great Recession. 

So, what’s the state of the recovery here in Michigan? Michigan Public Radio’s Lansing bureau chief, Rick Pluta, asked an expert – Michigan State University economics professor Charlie Ballard.

Poker casino game
Ab5602 via Wikimedia | Public Domain /

An Indian tribe says it has reached a partial agreement with the state to direct more casino revenue to Michigan economic development programs.

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians says Monday that the deal resolves a dispute that started after the state expanded online lottery sales and established video lottery terminals at social clubs.

The tribe says that violated a 2007 compact on revenue sharing procedures.

File photo of Gov. Rick Snyder speaking in Grand Rapids in 2016.
Hilary Farrell / WGVU

Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed a new leader of Michigan's Talent Investment Agency, which houses workforce development and unemployment insurance offices.

Wanda Stokes was named director of the agency Wednesday.

She comes from her current position as a deputy director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The current director of the Talent Investment Agency, Stephanie Comai, returns to the licensing department, where she previously was a deputy director.

She will join the leadership team of Shelly Edgerton, who became LARA director in April. | CC BY 2.0

A new labor rule going into effect later this year opens overtime wage eligibility for some currently-exempt, salaried employees.

“The issue really is the amount of salary it takes to be considered exempt.”

Paul Sicilian is a Grand Valley State University economics professor with a special focus on labor.

Coming into June, the U.S. Department of Labor finalized the rule as part of amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act - raising overtime exemptions of certain salaried workers from $23,660 to $47,476.

Jamie Clover Adams

Michigan plans to step up efforts to connect food and agriculture companies in the state with Chinese buyers during a November trade trip.

Officials announced Thursday that Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams will lead a trade mission to China from Nov. 9-14.

Stops are planned in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The trip will include one-on-one meetings, retail tours and briefings with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials.