Great Lakes Manufacturing Council

Manufacturing stagnation ahead? Report predicts little gain in manufacturing employment as Grand Rapids economy diversifies

A recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago compares the Grand Rapids area to peer Midwestern cities to find that Kent County’s most prevalent manufacturing industries are poised for stagnant employment growth over the next six years.

The Fed’s Industrial Cities Initiative (ICI) forecasts relatively flat growth in employment from 2010 to 2020 across Kent County’s most concentrated industries, namely furniture, plastics, rubber and machinery manufacturing. Based on national employment projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the ICI report focuses on understanding overarching economic, social and demographic trends within industrial cities across the Midwest.

Essentially, productivity gains are partly offsetting the need for new workers. That's one way that manufacturers, consciously or otherwise, are dealing with skilled worker shortages.

To read about the Fed's report, click here.