April 20th, 2022

Bi annual regional economic snapshot reveals expected growth in 2022

Grand Rapids regional business leaders report strong confidence in local economy

West Michigan Greater Grand Rapids

West Michigan business leaders are reporting strong confidence in the health of their companies and the economy at large, according to a March survey of 138 local companies by The Right Place.

Over the course of a year, The Right Place typically meets with more than 400 local companies. However, the economic development organization recently began intensifying its outreach by committing to meet with at least 100 companies in March and October of 2022. During these meetings, Right Place team members talk with companies about their future plans and any barriers to growth they may be facing. While the details of individual meetings are confidential, The Right Place gathers qualitative data in aggregate form to provide a snapshot of regional business sentiment.

“In March our team met with the leaders of 138 area companies, which is the highest number of business visits ever recorded by The Right Place in a single month,” said Randy Thelen, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “Through these meetings we were able to provide customized business assistance while gaining valuable insights on the health of our local economy. Overall, we see an optimistic business community planning for continued growth through 2022.”

Key findings include:

  • Companies are projecting growth: The majority of companies (57%) reported they have plans to expand. This growth typically includes increased headcounts or capital expenditures, and is an indication that area business leaders are feeling confident in the future. Specifically, 46% of companies indicate they plan to increase their rate of hiring.
  • Increasing sales: With pandemic restrictions subsiding, consumers continue to spend more, slowing only slightly since the last snapshot report in June 2021. Most area companies (73%) are reporting increasing sales. Of the remaining companies, 23% reported stable sales, and only 4% reported a decrease in sales.
  • The talent challenges may be shifting:Recruiting talent to open positions remains a persistent challenge, with 48% reporting difficulties. However, this is down slightly from last June, when 53% reported difficulties. Instead, 52% of companies reported no recruitment issues in March.
  • Increasing investment in employee training: In response to recruitment challenges, 39% of employers are reporting increased investment in training for their existing workforce, with the goal of raising retention rates.

Of the businesses surveyed, the majority employ under 100 with annual revenues between $1 million and $99 million. The businesses surveyed represent a global workforce of 656,534 people. Specifically, 76% employ under 100, 20% employ between 100-500, and 4% employ over 500. The revenue ranges included 26% of companies between $1 million and $9.9 million in sales, 31% between $10 million and $99.9 million, 9% over $100 million, and 1% over $1 billion.

The Right Place’s coverage area includes Kent, Ionia, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, Lake, and Oceana counties. The organization primarily serves businesses in the advanced manufacturing, technology, and health sciences industries.