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The economies of Michigan: Muskegon

By the numbers

$5.3 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 nationally, in terms of economic size.
(The region, comprised of Muskegon County, has
170,000 people, ranking 236th in population.)

The Business Buzz

The west-side story here is one word: Manufacturing. It climbed by 6.3 percent in 2013 over 2012, making up nearly 30 percent of the region’s GDP. It stands nearly 29 percent above its pre-recession output in 2007 and led to overall regional growth of 2.5 percent.

The region has seen the biggest recovery in the state since 2007. Professional and business services increased by 10.7 percent. Construction was down by 4.2 percent and remains 54.3 percent below its peak year of 2001.

“We know manufacturing is a huge part of (the growth),” said Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. “We have a great cross-section of manufacturers in Muskegon, automotive, aerospace, food processing, a lot of transportation suppliers.”

She said the region will get $150 million in capital investment of all types in 2014. “For a county our size, that's significant,” she said. Baker College is building a new health center, estimated at $8 million. and a 73-home waterfront project on Muskegon Lake is in the works.

“We haven't seen anything like that in a decade,” she said.

Top 10 industries: Manufacturing boosts economy

One of the regions most reliant on manufacturing, Muskegon has seen heavy industry continue to rise over five years and it is 22 percent higher than it was before the recession.

Sector 2013 GDP
(in $ millions)
Percent of economy Peak year Change (2013)
from peak
Change from 2007 Change from 2012
Manufacturing $1,580 29.6% 2013 0% 22.2% 6.3%
Educational services, health care, and social assistance $670 12.6% 2006 -1.6% -0.3% 2.1%
Government $626 11.7% 2002 -22.1% -14.8% -2.7%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing $570 10.7% 2003 -23.1% 6% -0.6%
Retail trade $558 10.5% 2005 -12% -5.9% -2.4%
Wholesale trade $225 4.2% 2001 -23.2% 11.4% 10.4%
Professional and business services $209 3.9% 2001 -31.7% -6.1% 10.7%
Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services $179 3.4% 2004 -15.3% -10.5% 0%
Construction $170 3.2% 2001 -54.3% -14.9% -4.2%
Other services, except government $134 2.5% 2002 -20.8% -17.2% 2.5%

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

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