Economic Forecast Predicts Job, Wage Growth in 2017 for West Michigan, State

    Words like tireless and tenacious are often used to describe Birgit Klohs.
    Words like tireless and tenacious are often used to describe Birgit Klohs.
    Words like tireless and tenacious are often used to describe Birgit Klohs.

    While no one can predict the future, it is helpful to have people, businesses and organizations that can use data to help companies determine where the next 12 months may end up.

    Recently, the regional economic development organization The Right Place Inc. hosted its 21st annual West Michigan Economic Outlook at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids. The event featured a year-in-review presentation by The Right Place Inc. President and CEO Birgit Klohs as well as an in-depth economic analysis and forecast for West Michigan in 2017 by Jim Robey of the W.E. Upjohn Institute.

    During her presentation, Klohs highlighted several notable accomplishments the organization achieved in its 31st year of operation, including:

    · 19 completed projects
    · 635 new and retained jobs
    · $29.4 million in new payroll
    · $240.6 million in capital investment
    Technology and Manufacturing were industry sectors with most activity, including:
    · Having 14 of the 19 projects
    · Representing 94 percent of capital investments (Technology at 66 percent and Manufacturing at 28 percent)
    · Representing 78 percent of new jobs (Technology at 46 percent and Manufacturing at 32percent )
    2016 represented the final year of Right Place’s most recent 3-year strategic plan. The 3-year numbers include: 4,146 new jobs (goal: 5,500), $153.8 million in payroll (goal: $183m) and $725.3 million in capital investment (goal: $390m).

    During his part of the presentation, Jim Robey, PhD., Director, Regional Economic Planning Services, W.E. Upjohn Institute, provided an analysis of several economic factors that will affect Grand Rapids as well as the rest of the state in 2017, including:

    · Michigan is expected to see 41,600 new jobs in 2017 compared to estimate of 69,000 new jobs in 2016.
    · 1.1 percent increase in general employment
    · .5 percent increase in goods producing in industry employment
    · 1.3 percent increase in service providing industry employment
    · .5 percent in government employment
    · Tight labor markets should push Michigan wages up in 2017.

    The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, independent research organization devoted to investigating the causes and effects of unemployment, to identifying feasible methods of insuring against unemployment, and to devising ways and means of alleviating the distress and hardship caused by unemployment.