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Job Trends In Grand Rapids, Michigan

Updated on December 17, 2014
 Skyline seen from the Gerald R. Ford Museum
Skyline seen from the Gerald R. Ford Museum | Source

Western Michigan Growth

The Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland labor market area, defined by MichiganWorks! is home to 1,330,000+ people as of the end of 2007 and lies in Western Michigan in the counties of Allegan, Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa. US Federal statistics include several other counties in this area for a range of purposes.

Of this number, the largest population sections are birth - 34 years old, 0-19 being 29% and 20 - 34 being 21%, with older segments markedly smaller. Thus, this is a young population overall and over 50% of the total population experiences over $45,000/year household income.

The economic base of this four-county market area is supported by jobs and business largely in the non-manufacturing sector of industries.

The Business Review of Western Michigan published during the 4th quarter of 2007 that from 1970 - 2006 (26 years), economic growth in the Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland area surpassed the national average. Market projects call for increasing growth in a number of industries from 2014 - 2024 as well.

Largest Area Employers Also Largest in Michigan

The top three employers in the Grand Rapid area are Health & Medical companies that are also among the top 25 largest employers statewide in Michigan.

Top 6 Largest Employers in the Greater Grand Rapids Area

  2. Spectrum Health System
  3. Devos Children's Hospital
  4. Steelcase
  5. Johnson Controls
  6. Grand Rapids Public Schools

Top 10 Jobs in the Grand Rapids Market Area

  1. Healthcare Support jobs - Attendants and Care Techs, Orderlies, Aides, and others.
  2. Registered Nurses (RNs) - This includes Travel Nursing.
  3. All levels of Food Preparation & Service jobs
  4. Retail Salespersons
  5. Janitors, Landscapers & Groundskeepers
  6. Business Operations Specialists
  7. Mainstream Elementary School Teachers & Teaching Assistants
  8. Customer Service Representatives
  9. Truck Drivers
  10. General Maintenance and Repair Professionals

While Heathcare is the major growing contributor to the area economy and will likely continue to be through 2100, other services are growing as well. The need for elementary school teachers indicates a growing population that will consume additional goods and services, including the forecast increasing Healthcare, Food Service, Sales, Business Services and others on the Top 10 List.

Other Large Employers

Allegan County

  • Haworth Inc - wooden & metal office furniture and other
  • Perrigo Co - Private label OTC pharmaceuticals & vitamins
  • Packerland/Plainwell - Meat packing

Kent County

  • Meijer Inc. - Groceries & General Merchandise
  • Spartan Stores, Inc. - Grocery Wholesaler
  • Alticor Inc. - Home & personal care; nutritional products
  • Foremost Insurance Group - Property and casualty insurance
  • Saint Mary's Mercy Medical Center

Muskegon County

  • American Bowling Congress - Bowling & tournaments
  • Shape Corp - Aircraft & Aerospace Products
  • Howmet Corp/Whitehall Casting - Manufactures aerospace precision parts
  • Mercy General Health Partners - Hospital

Ottawa County

  • Prince Corporation - Automotive interior parts
  • Donnelly Corp - Auto mirrors, door handles
  • Bil-Mar Foods Inc - Processed dinners & food prdts
  • General Motors Corp - Gasoline fuel injectors

A street performer in Grand rapids Michigan. The Bronze Man.
A street performer in Grand rapids Michigan. The Bronze Man. | Source

Higher Education

  • The Aquinas College
  • Calvin College
  • Calvin Theological Seminary
  • Cooley Law School
  • Cornerstone University & Champions of Character
  • Davenport University
  • David Wolcott Kendall Memorial School
  • Ferris State University
  • Grand Rapids Community College
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Hope College
  • Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • Kellogg Community College
  • Michgian State University - West
  • Muskegon Community College
  • Reformed Bible College
  • Western Michigan University


City of Grand Rapids

The Hopewell Native Americans inhabited not only Ohio, but also Michigan, in the western sectors. Following them were the Ottawas and fur trading became lucrative when white settlers appeared. The founder of the City of Grand Rapids (Louis Campau) did so by building a house and blacksmith shop along with a trading post at the rapids on the Grand River in the 19th century. Alternately, the city has been known for furs, automotive, and furniture manufacturing.

In the 21st century, the city and market area are most successful in a growing Healthcare system. The Van Andel Research Institute specializes in cancer research, prevention, and treatment.

Cancer Research - Van Andel Institute partners with the city of Grand rapids to offer education experiences to K-12 students, as well as college and universities students. employment opportunities are listed on their website.

Architectural services are growing somewhat in the Grand Rapids economy as well. Related to this is the presence of the Meyer May House built for the Michigan May Stores family by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Sports and Recreation

Around the four-county area, these activities are offered:

Sports Associations



"Champions of Character" ensures every NAIA student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership & sportsmanship.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Burial Site is located on the grounds of the Presidential Museum as well in Grand Rapids, and is open to visitors.

President Ford was the first POTUS to divide the major functions of US Presidential Libraries -- The Ford Archives sits in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the University of Michigan; while the Ford Museum sits in Grand Rapids in his old congressional district.

Materials from the Archive can be searched for interested individuals by Archive staff and emailed from the PRESNET Archival Automation System. In addition, the Museum offers several online exhibits that are accessible, just a few of which are:

  • Slavery on Trial: The Long Road to Freedom
  • Teddy Roosevelt: A Singular Life
  • Opening an Empire: U.S. Relations with China
  • All That Jazz
  • Bob Hope: American Patriot
  • Watergate exhibit

Related page link about his topic include: US History: President Gerald R. Ford (1974 - 1976) and The Nixon Years: 1969 - 1974, with additional US HIstory linked to those pages.

Commemorative statue wall, Grand Rapids Michigan
Commemorative statue wall, Grand Rapids Michigan | Source


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