West Michigan Economy

Grand Valley State University

West Michigan economists project a slow but positive 2016.

"It’s going to be a pretty decent year in west Michigan, just not quite as nice as it was the year before."

That’s Dr. Paul Isely of the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.

"Last year was a little slower than the year before. This year’s going to be a little slower than that," he says. "But it’s still going to be fast enough that we’re going to have growth, and people are going to get jobs."

Michigan's annual average unemployment rate falls in 2015

Jan 21, 2016

The state says Michigan's annual average unemployment rate fell in 2015, marking the sixth straight yearly decline.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday that the preliminary annual average unemployment rate was 5.4 percent last year, down from the 2014 annual rate of 7.3 percent.

The 2015 measure was slightly above the 5.3 percent national annual rate.

The agency says Michigan's annual unemployment rate has fallen each year since hitting a recent annual high of 13.7 percent in 2009.

Rapid Growth

Jan 7, 2016
rapidgrowthmedia.com / Rapid Growth

Guests from Rapid Growth Media join us each month. Today, Managing Editor Anna Gustafson and Tommy Allen discuss the online publication's 10th anniversary.

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A Grand Rapids manufacturing facility may close this year, affecting up to 300 local jobs.

Operations at Dematic’s manufacturing plant may relocate to Monterrey, Mexico over a six-to-nine month period in 2016.

A Wednesday news release from the company states closure of the plant is under consideration, citing a need to maintain competitive costs and a “proactive focus on operating scaled production facilities”.

The company says up to 300 fabrication, warehouse, assembly and plant management jobs would be affected locally if the move occurs.

Michigan's minimum wage rising 35 cents to $8.50 an hour

Dec 31, 2015

Michigan workers making the minimum wage will see a 35-cents-an-hour raise starting Friday.

The state hourly minimum is rising from $8.15 to $8.50.

That is $14 more a week, or $728 a year, for those working full time.

The increase is the second in 16 months under a 2014 law that gradually boosted the minimum by 25 percent.

The wage will increase to $8.90 in 2017 and $9.25 in 2018. Starting in 2019, it will rise with inflation every year unless the unemployment rate is high.

Michigan's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates have dropped slightly in most of the state's 17 major labor markets.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget announced Tuesday the median decline in 14 regions was 0.2 percentage points from October to November.

Those regions report unemployment rates at or below the nationally seasonally unadjusted rate of 4.8 percent.

In November, 14 regions displayed unemployment rates at or below the national seasonally unadjusted rate of 4.8 percent.

Business Buzz

Dec 15, 2015
Gemini Publications

Business Buzz, every month speaking to guests from Gemini Publications on local business news. Today, Carole Valade  is here to talk about the top business newsmakers in 2015.


A Thanksgiving party aims to attract and retain former west Michiganders traveling home for the holidays. 

“The development that’s occurred, the job creation and opportunities that have occurred in the past couple years, really tends to take somebody by surprise.”

That’s Tim Mroz with The Right Place.

The economic development agency and Hello West Michigan are teaming up for the fourth annual ReThink West Michigan – a free event that’s part party, and part networking.

The Right Place

Nov 17, 2015
The Right Place
The Right Place / rightplace.org

We speak with guests each month from The Right Place.  CEO Birgit Klohs discusses the "big project" that's been in the news.

Wikimedia | Trance88

The former Steelcase pyramid building could be the home of what's being called the largest data center in the eastern U.S. 

Switch, a national data services provider, confirmed its interest in the Gaines Township structure as part of an overall 10-year, $5 billion investment.

The Nevada-based company says the campus would employ 1,000 people once at full capacity.

The company says an official agreement hinges on passage of three bills currently in the state legislature involving industry tax exemptions and incentives.