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.  


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.

Michigan would cut its penalties for defrauding the unemployment benefits system under legislation approved by the state House. The measure is included in an eight-bill package sent to the Senate Wednesday. It was proposed in the wake of a scandal at the state Unemployment Insurance Agency, which has reversed at least 44,000 fraud cases covering a two-year period after a computer system wrongly accused people of collecting excessive benefits. 

Michigan's unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in May as officials say there were fewer residents in the state workforce. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget announced Wednesday the May rate was a half percentage point lower than April's rate of 4.7 percent and six-tenths of a percentage point below the state's May 2016 rate of 4.8 percent. 

The city of Grand Rapids is looking for young adults ages 15 to 24 to enroll in the LEAD program that will help connect them with a summer job. Created by former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell in 2010, the LEAD program is an acronym for leadership, employment, achievement and direction. Facilitated by city run Our Communities Children, the program provides young people training in civic engagement, leadership and employability skills. 

Michigan's auditor is again finding fault with the state Unemployment Insurance Agency, finding that it has only partially complied with a past audit that criticized efforts to collect delinquent taxes employers pay into the system. 

The audit released Wednesday is a follow-up to an audit done five years ago. It also comes after the state last week reassigned the agency's director due to thousands of jobless people being wrongfully accused of fraud by a computer-based unemployment benefits system.


Michigan will be unable to rule that someone committed unemployment benefits fraud unless a state worker verifies it under legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The law OK'd Monday prohibits what's known as "auto-adjudication." It codifies a change the state Unemployment Insurance Agency put in place in 2015 after thousands of people receiving jobless benefits were mistakenly accused of fraud by a computer system.

Gov. Rick Snyder's administration announced last week that the director of the agency was reassigned in the wake of criticism over the problem.

Michigan officials say able-bodied adults without dependents in four counties must meet work requirements to continue receiving food assistance after Jan. 1. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday it's notifying about 14,000 people in Kent, Oakland, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties this week of the change. Recipients ages 18-49 without disabilities that prevent them from working must spend an average of 20 hours per week each month in unsubsidized employment, job training, or volunteering at a nonprofit.

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.

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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.