Manufacturing jobs on the rise in West Michigan


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new report shows manufacturing jobs in West Michigan are on the rise.

The report from “Manufacturers News Incorporated” shows manufacturers in Michigan added over 14,000 jobs from Feb. 2014 to Feb. 2015 — an increase of 2.1 percent. Grand Rapids alone had a 4.7 percent increase.

Michigan is outpacing the rest of the country when it comes to manufacturing jobs. The Labor Department reported a national average increase of 1.7 percent for the same time period.

Cascade Die Casting Group is one of the manufacturing businesses that has seen growth and expansion over the past few years. They employ 400 people and plan to hire 50 more this year.

Since 2011, Michigan has recovered 40 percent of manufacturing jobs lost during the recession.

Executives at The Right Place, an economic development firm, said they’ve taken on 46 manufacturing projects in West Michigan over the past 3 years, equating to nearly 3,000 jobs.

“We’re not an automotive community, we’re not an office furniture community…we’re an ‘and’ community. We do office furniture and automotive, and medical devices, and embedded circuitry, and electronics,” said Tim Mroz, the vice-president of marketing and communications at The Right Place. “It’s everything under the sun here so when you have a manufacturer that chooses to locate here in the region, they know they have a very diverse supply chain and very diverse talent chain that they can pull from.”

Mroz also said West Michigan had the talent base to withstand the recession.

The Right Place says availability of space and infrastructure are some challenges manufacturers in West Michigan will face moving forward.

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