Job Growth In Grand Rapids Gets Recognition From Forbes

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A list published in Forbes Magazine this weekend has named Grand Rapids one of the top ten cities in America to find a job.

The list – complied by workforce solutions group Adecco – puts Grand Rapids fourth. 

“It says something about the fortitude of West Michigan,” Tim Mroz of GR economic development group The Right Place says.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for 20 straight months – January 2009 to August 2010 – Grand Rapids suffered through double-digit unemployment numbers, topping at 12.2% in July 2009.

But the numbers are dropping. Unemployment in the Grand Rapids/Wyoming area is now 6.6% – and has been as low at 5.5% in the last six months.

Mroz has seen West Michigan’s economic bounce-back for himself. He says more and more people looking for jobs from outside the area are taking notice of the growth.

“They have the talent that they could be anywhere in the U.S. They could be anywhere in the world,” Mroz says. “They decided, ‘Hey, Grand Rapids – there’s something going on there and I want to be a part of it.'”

Adecco’s study shows that anybody with skills in manufacturing and labor are hot commodities in the city.

Some of the big industries hiring include finance, education, engineering, and health care.

Spectrum Health’s Thea Reigler says the company is constantly expanding their work force of more than 19,000 employees.

“Every month, we currently screen about 15,000-18,000 candidates who are interested in our positions,” Reigler says. “At any given time, we have between 600 and 800 openings.”

The manufacturing jobs are booming as well. Grand Rapids Chair announced an expansion to Byron Center on Wednesday. It’s a move that will bring 50 new jobs to the area.

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