The economies of Michigan: Battle Creek

By the numbers

$5.5 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 Calhoun County, has 135,000 people,
ranking 296th in population.)

The Business Buzz

Manufacturing is still the big boy here, producing a third of the region's economic output. Durable goods manufacturing, which includes items like machinery and automobiles, increased 5.8 percent between 2013 and 2012 but remains nearly 27 percent below its pre-recession output in 2007. Still, overall manufacturing gains helped push overall 2013 GDP up 1.4 percent above 2012.

Accommodations and food services grew by 8.6 percent to $101 million. Health care and social assistance was up by 5.1 percent to nearly $500 million. The construction industry fell by 4.7 percent and is less than half what it was in 2003.

“We are starting to see growth opportunities and potential in our community. I am cautiously optimistic that growth will go up more in 2014,” said Kara Beer, president of the Battle Creek Chamber of Commerce.

“In manufacturing, we are seeing a number of expansions in the Fort Custer Industrial Park. Denso (which produces air condition and cooling components) hired approximately 400 workers last year and they are on track to do that again this year," she said. "It is just one example of what is going on there. Food service is up and I would attribute that to Firekeepers Casino Hotel. They are averaging 90 percent occupancy on a daily basis. Travel and tourism are up.”

Top 10 industries: Diversifying economy helps region

The Battle Creek area has seen growth in several smaller sectors, including financial services and transportation, adding a broader base to an economy dominated by manufacturing.

Sector 2013 GDP
(in $ millions)
Percent of economy Peak year Change (2013)
from peak
Change from 2007 Change from 2012
Manufacturing $1,807 32.7% 2005 -2.8% 12.9% 4.6%
Government $921 16.7% 2001 -12.4% -1.6% -3.5%
Professional and business services $611 11.1% 2008 -3.2% 5.2% 5.4%
Educational services, health care, and social assistance $573 10.4% 2013 0% 8.2% 4.3%
Retail trade $327 5.9% 2003 -18% -6.5% 2%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing $294 5.3% 2003 -36.3% -24.7% -2.1%
Transportation and warehousing $191 3.5% 2013 0% 11.1% 4.3%
Other services, except government $139 2.5% 2004 -20.3% -9.5% 8.6%
Construction $129 2.3% 2003 -52.5% -31.1% -4.7%
Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services $128 2.3% 2001 -29.7% -22.3% 5.2%

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

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