Economic Development and Human Resources

Grand Rapids ranks No. 2 in US for spring jobs outlook

March 12, 2014
TAGS jobs / Manpower
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Grand Rapids-Wyoming job market among strongest in nation
ManpowerGroup is a workforce services company. Photo via

The employment outlook for the Grand Rapids market this spring is among the brightest in the nation.

The Grand Rapids and Wyoming market ranks second in the nation, in a five-way tie, for employer hiring expectations for the second quarter, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released yesterday.

Area reputation

“We are certainly in a growth trend, due to many pieces that got us to this point,” said Becca Dernberger, Manpower, VP and general manager for the northeast division.

She went on say the overall environment and culture in West Michigan are contributing factors.

“I think it has a strong reputation for having a strong workforce and strong employers,” Dernberger said. “I think from there you look at what economic development organizations are doing, what our chamber of commerces are doing, our Pure Michigan campaign.

“Many different people are engaged in showcasing West Michigan as a premier place to work and live, and I think all of those things are really having an impact.”

The report by Manpower, an employee recruiting company based in Milwaukee, is based on a survey of more than 18,000 employers across the U.S. and their hiring expectations for this April to June.

As a nation, 19 percent of employers anticipate increasing their staff levels, while 22 percent of employers across the state of Michigan expect to hire during the second quarter.

In the Grand Rapids market, 23 percent of companies plan to increase their staff. Another 74 percent of employers plan on maintaining their current staff level in the area and 2 percent don’t know, resulting in a net outlook of 22 percent of employers planning to hire, according to Manpower.

The spring outlook is great news for the area in terms of job opportunities increasing, said Deborah Lyzenga, business service manager at Michigan Works! Kent & Allegan Counties, a workforce development agency.

She added that she’d love to see some of the long-term unemployed back to work

“I think that people are starting to see the value of West Michigan,” Lyzenga said. “There is the work ethic, the cost of living, which is reasonable, and the school systems are great. I am hoping that all of the work being done through economic development, that the word is getting out about the West Coast of Michigan.”

Balanced growth

Several industries in the market are expecting to hire: construction, durable goods manufacturing, non-durable goods manufacturing, transportation, utilities, wholesale and retail trade, financial activities, education, health services, leisure and hospitality.

The variety of industries anticipating growth for the coming quarter shows a very sustainable recovery, Dernberger said.

Top markets

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey ranks Provo, Utah first, with a net outlook of 29 percent of employers planning to hire: Charleston, S.C., Houston, Milwaukee and San Jose, Calif. tie with Grand Rapids for the secon position, with a net employment outlook of 22 percent.

On a country-wide scale, 73 percent of employers across the nation anticipate maintain their staffing level, with 4 percent uncertain about their staffing plans. When adjusted, the net outlook is 15 percent for the United States, and 13 percent when seasonally adjusted.

Low workforce reduction

The stable growth for the coming quarter was expected, as workforce reductions anticipated by employers are the lowest in nearly four decades, said Jonas Prising, president of Manpower Group.

“With ninety-two percent of U.S. employers planning to hire or keep their staff levels steady, there is a sense of optimism that demand for goods and services is getting more predictable, allowing employers to feel more comfortable about business growth,” Prising said.

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