West Michigan Economy

Business Buzz

Jun 21, 2016
Gemini Publications

Carole Valade is in studio with this month's headlines, including a Neocon wrap and local expansions for Business Buzz, a monthly segment with guests from Gemini Publications.

Michigan jobless rate drops to 4.7 percent

Jun 15, 2016
Pexels.com | CC BY 2.0

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate has dropped to 4.7 percent.

That’s the lowest it’s been in 15 years.

The drop in the monthly rate was not due to more hiring, but the 6,000 people who gave up looking for work. Fewer people competing for jobs reduces the jobless rate.

But Governor Rick Snyder says the overall hiring trend for the state is good.

He says the state’s workforce has grown by roughly 100,000 people since the beginning of the year in hopes of finding a job.

Coyau via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0

Michigan’s monthly jobless rate remains unchanged at 4.8 percent.

There was an increase in hiring, but that was accompanied by roughly the same number of people joining the workforce.

Governor Rick Snyder says the flat month-to-month unemployment rate and the surge in the number of jobseekers is good news.

Governor Rick Snyder speaks with Muskegon Community College instructors and staff during a tour of campus skilled trades facilities.
Hilary Farrell

Muskegon Community College highlights results of a close to $7 million dollar investment in skilled trade equipment.

"It’s really a space where people can dream of anything, and then go ahead and make it."

David Stradal is the business department and entrepreneurial studies chair at Muskegon Community College. He’s sharing features of MCC’s future downtown campus, which will include rapid prototype machinery.

"So somebody could come in with an idea on a napkin and we’ll help them build it – or we’ll teach them how to use the equipment so they can build it." 

Stefano Mazzone via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia.org

A new program at a Michigan prison is part of an effort to prepare inmates for work after they're eventually released from custody.

The Sentinel-Standard of Ionia reports the "Vocational Village" program was established this year at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia.

Those involved say it uses principles of occupational education in a much more concentrated format than usual.

MLive.com reports program offers a certificate of employability and gives inmates an understanding of what employers seek as well as how workers should act.


Officials say the Gun Lake Casino in western Michigan will nearly double its current size when it completes a $76 million expansion.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that when it opens in the summer of 2017 the new portion of the 5-year-old casino near Wayland, about 20 miles south of Grand Rapids, will have added add 73,000 square feet of space to the existing facility.

The Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians on Tuesday announced that the update about the project, which includes a high-limit gambling room and entertainment lounge.

From Where I Sit

Apr 5, 2016

From Where I Sit is a monthly conversation with office furniture industry analyst Mike Dunlap. Today we talk about the publication "Business Of Furniture."


Private and public interests are working to boost interest in Muskegon's port.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports the Muskegon County Port Advisory is planning a "Port Day" this summer that would include tours of the western Michigan port along Lake Michigan for executives from across a 13-county region.

A similar set of tours took place last year when Muskegon hosted the American Great Lakes Ports Association.

The Port of Muskegon faces a pivotal year without coal shipments to the B.C. Cobb power plant, which is being shut down.


The west Michigan economy got off to a crawl in January. Then the calendar flipped and new orders came pouring in - kick-starting the local economy in February. WGVU takes a closer look at the February Supply Management Research survey.

“We had a very anemic month as the New Year opened and we started to worry a little bit.”

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business described economic growth as “slowing to a crawl” in his January Supply Management Research survey.

The state says Michigan's monthly unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point in nearly 15 years.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for January was 4.9 percent. That's down two-tenths of a percentage point from December and 1.1 percentage points below the January 2015 rate.

The state's January unemployment rate matched the nation's for the same period.