Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

First-time donations are being matched!

There's no better time to become a Bridge Club member. Not only does your gift to our nonprofit newsroom help us grow our staff, but gifts from first-time donors will also be matched by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation and the Herrick Foundation.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate Today

The economies of Michigan: Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids
By the numbers

$48 billion

Size of local economy, 2013


Percent economic growth, 2012-2013.


Rank, among 14 metropolitan
regions in Michigan, in terms
of one-year growth


Rank, among 382 metropolitan
regions in country, in terms of
one-year change in GDP


Rank, among 14 Michigan regions,
in overall economic size


Rank, among 382 metropolitan
regions in country, in terms of
one-year change in GDP


Rank nationally, in terms of economic size.
With just over 1 million people over Kent,
Ottawa, Barry and Montcalm counties, the region
is the 52nd largest MSA in population.

The Business Buzz

Pick a sector, any sector – nearly all gained GDP in 2013 compared to 2012. Of the major industries, only government was down, by 2.9 percent in 2013. Manufacturing, the region's largest sector, gained 6.2 percent. It's back up to 25 percent of the overall economy. Arts and entertainment was up by nearly 8 percent, real estate by nearly 8 percent and construction by nearly 7 percent. Real estate stands 17.8 percent above 2007 levels and the educational services sector – which gained 4.1 percent in 2013 – is more than 19 percent above 2007.

All this adds up to a 3.9 percent overall GDP rise, making it 11 percent of state GDP.

“We never gave up on manufacturing here,” said Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place, a Grand Rapids-based regional economic organization. “Yes, there is a future in manufacturing and it is highly technological and advanced.”

She cited a need, however, to better prepare workers for that new future.

“You don't give an unskilled worker a $1 million piece of equipment. These are really good paying jobs but we don't have the labor force to match,” she said.

Top 10 industries: Region’s recovery broad based

The state’s second largest regional economy has seen steady growth across sectors, providing positive economic news in a state long beset with bad.

Sector 2013 GDP
(in millions)
Percent of economy Peak year Change (2013)
from peak
Change from 2007 Change from 2012
Manufacturing $12,074 25.1% 2006 -1.7% 0.4% 6.2%
Finance, insurance $7,913 16.5% 2013 0.0% 10.9% 6.3%
Prof. and business services $5,048 10.5% 2013 0.0% 3.5% 0.6%
Educational services, health care $4,890 10.2% 2013 0.0% 16.2% 4.1%
Wholesale trade $3,882 8.1% 2005 -7.4% -7.7% 1.0%
Government $3,785 7.9% 2002 -8.8% -5.2% -2.9%
Retail trade $3,269 6.8% 2003 -0.9% 7.7% 4.8%
Construction $1,605 3.3% 2004 -38.8% -19.0% 6.7%
Arts, entertainment, recreation,
accommodations, food service
$1,374 2.9% 2013 0.0% 23
Transportation and
$1,136 2.4% #N/A #N/A #N/A #N/A

Although it's not an "industry" by federal definition, government services were included in the list.

We're not just a news organization, we're also your neighbors

We’ve been there for you with daily Michigan COVID-19 news; reporting on the emergence of the virus, daily numbers with our tracker and dashboard, exploding unemployment, and we finally were able to report on mass vaccine distribution. We report because the news impacts all of us. Will you please donate and help us reach our goal of 15,000 members in 2021?

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate Now