Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University

As 2017 comes to a close, November’s Supply Management Research survey suggests West Michigan’s economy will be strong in 2018.

“It’s quite possible that 2018 will be one of our best years in the previous 10 years.”

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. He says West Michigan’s economic trajectory heading into December and beyond is full steam ahead.

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Michigan has approved incentives to land at least 1,100 new jobs in the state, including hundreds being added by an auto supplier in the embattled city of Flint.

Lear Corp. will receive a state grant worth up to $4.35 million to build a 435-job, $29 million automotive seating assembly plant in Flint, which is recovering from a water crisis.

Flint's offering a 50 percent property tax abatement.

The facility will be based on the site of General Motors' former Buick City complex and was chosen over Mexico, according to a state memo.

Local First

Local First West Michigan’s “Good for Grand Rapids” campaign is receiving a quarter of a million dollars grant. The money will be used to help locally-owned companies create jobs and have a positive impact on the community.

The Grand Rapids Community Foundations is continuing its support of Local First with a three year, $250,000 grant.

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University

West Michigan’s economy continued its steady growth into June. WGVU breaks down the data points highlighted in the most recent Supply Management Research survey.

What continues to be the strength of the Supply Management Research survey is the regions low unemployment.

Michigan’s jobless rate has edged upward to four-point-six percent. The uptick was caused by a surge in the number of people looking for work.

This is the first jump in the jobless rate in months. Hiring was up last month by 11 thousand people. But 14 thousand people were counted as unemployed as more jobseekers joined the workforce.

Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

A higher minimum wage was the demand of protestors at the State Capitol Monday.

They want Governor Rick Snyder and the legislature to boost the state wage from $8.50 an hour, to $15.00 an hour. They called the current minimum wage a ‘slave wage.’

Velma Cornelius is a child care worker. She says she makes $9.50 an hour and has been working to increase the minimum wage for the last seven years.

“Because you can’t raise no shorty on nine-forty,” she said. “And you can’t survive, off of ten-forty-five.”

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Michigan's jobless rate dipped to 4.5 percent in July, a slight drop from the previous month and lowest in 15 years.

The state said Wednesday it's the lowest rate since January 2001's 4.4 percent, but officials say it corresponds with a significant drop in labor force and employment levels.

Total employment fell by 20,000, while the number of unemployed fell by 8,000.

The Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives says Michigan's unemployment rate has incrementally dropped this year, following a mostly decreasing trend since July 2009.

Business Buzz

Aug 16, 2016
Gemini Publications

Business Buzz, a monthly conversation with Carole Valade from Gemini Publications.  We hear news today that 70 % of lakeshore employers expect to hire, Wolverine World Wide put shoes on the Olympians, and  Switch is already investing in ArtPrize.

Kayla Tucker

Michigan business, law enforcement and educational leaders are calling for more support for community college students.

It comes on the heels of a new state report highlighting financial goals and challenges of preparing students for the workforce.

Local officials focused on the topic and report at a Wednesday press conference at Grand Rapids Community College.

They say educational programs like workforce training and dual-enrollment can help address a statewide 'skills gap' - and will benefit students as they prepare for their careers.

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.