December 8th, 2022

2023 Economic Outlook for Greater Grand Rapids given at The Right Place’s annual event

First ever State of the Region report launched by The Right Place

West Michigan Greater Grand Rapids Event Recaps

Today, regional economic development organization The Right Place, Inc. hosted its 2023 Economic Outlook for the Greater Grand Rapids Region. The event featured a state of the region presentation by The Right Place, Inc. President and CEO Randy Thelen, accompanied by the launch of the organization’s first annual State of the Region Report. The event also included in-depth state and national forecasts by University of Michigan Regional Economic Specialist Don Grimes and Fifth Third Bank’s Chief Investment Strategist Jeff Korzenik.

2022 Right Place Accomplishments

The Right Place’s Randy Thelen provided an update on progress against its 3-year strategic plan goals. As it winds down the final year of the plan, which runs from 2020 to 2022, the organization has surpassed its goals (click here to read full strategic plan).

  • In 2022, the organization’s work has resulted in*:
    • 1,133 new and retained jobs
    • $56m in new and retained payroll
    • $194m in new capital investment
  • Since the start of the 3-year plan, the organization’s work has resulted in:
    • 3,677 new and retained jobs (against 3-year goal of 3,400 | 108%)
    • $195m in new and retained payroll (against 3-year goal of $184m | 106%)
    • $598m in new capital investment (against 3-year goal of $500m |120%)

In addition to these metrics, the recently announced battery component manufacturing facility in Big Rapids includes $2.3 Billion in investment and 2,350 new jobs. When this project, the largest in the organization’s history, is counted the 3-year totals rise to 6,027 new and retained jobs (177%), $342M in new and retained payroll (186%), and $2.9 Billion in capital investment (592%).

    State of the Region

    During the Economic Outlook, The Right Place released its first annual State of the Region report. This report is designed to inform the community of key trends impacting the region. It is the result of qualitative insights from The Right Place’s economic development work across its 8-county collaborative, and quantitative economic research performed by its Business Intelligence team.

    Key takeaways include:

    • Labor Force Recovery: After losing 22,500 workers during the pandemic, the labor force has recovered 23,000 workers which surpasses pre-pandemic levels.
    • Overall, Greater Grand Rapids has had a slower than average recovery of jobs. At -3.8%, the region is performing better than the state average (-4.5%), but slightly below the national average of -1.8% from 2019-2022.
    • Local business leaders are confident in the region’s future, despite potential headwinds of inflation and rising interest rates. Specifically, of the 500+ businesses The Right Place met with in 2022:
      • 70% reported increasing sales
      • 56% reported plans to expand
      • 22% reported talent as their number one pinch point
      • 43% are planning to increase investment in training

    *All metrics are as of Dec. 6, 2022