95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

West Michigan economy poised for strong growth in 2021

Paul Isely photo

While 2020 came with record levels of unemployment and businesses closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, local economists are predicting that West Michigan’s economy will rebound with strong growth in 2021. It’s dependent on the federal government injecting $3 trillion into the economy and the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.

Co-sponsored by Colliers International, and the Grand Valley State University Seidemen College of Business, the good news came Thursday morning at the 2021 West Michigan Economic and Commercial Real Estate Forecast, giving businesses an inside look as to what to expect out of the economy over the next year.

And despite the deep recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a number of industries managed to weather the storm unscathed; while improving business confidence, along with strong employment growth and sales growth, are expected for the West Michigan economy in 2021.

Dr. Paul Isely, is an associate dean and professor of economics at the Seidman College of Business, and gave the keynote speech Thursday morning.

“And we know that this is going to be a strong year no matter how you look at it,” Isley said. “There is going to be a lot of economic activity in 2021, and we are going to see growth like we haven’t seen in recent times. Michigan and U.S. economies have already scaled most of the way out of the hole, but it will be 12-18 months before we are on solid ground again.”

It is not however, all good news, as there are sectors of the economy that are still in recession. Isley said that the hospitality businesses has been hit the hardest, and is the hardest to predict what will happen in 2021. Despite take-out options, 30 percent of West Michigan restaurants are closed, and 25 percent of those, permanently.