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The Right Place hosts annual economic outlook for 2023

Right Place Economic Outlook 2023
Daniel Boothe
Daniel Boothe
Right Place Economic Outlook 2023

Economists predict what next year will look like in West Michigan and beyond

Regional economic development organization, The Right Place hosted its 2023 Economic Outlook for the Greater Grand Rapids Region Thursday; as business leaders were given a forecast of what next year’s economy will look like.

Despite inflation, gas prices, and the rising cost of goods over the past year, West Michigan businesses are rebounding from the pandemic, and the economy is leveling out, however, a recession, albeit mild still looms in the second half of 2023. Those were some of the main themes of Thursday’s economic forecast for 2023.

After losing 22,500 workers during the pandemic, the labor force has recovered 23,000 workers which surpasses pre-pandemic levels. However, overall, at -3.8%, Greater Grand Rapids is performing better than the state average (-4.5%), but slightly below the national average of -1.8% from 2019-2022, says Right Place President and CEO Randy Thelen.

“Given everything that we have gone through over the past two years, Grand Rapids has performed quite well, we have a little more room to grow in terms of recovering jobs fully,” Thelen said.

Meanwhile, the economy across the state of Michigan also looks promising, with economists forecasting a complete recovery in payroll employment by the end of 2024. While personal income per capita will be up 25 % since 2019, University of Michigan Regional Economic Specialist Don Grimes says attracting talent to the state is going to be key in keeping the economic momentum moving forward.

“I’m really concerned about the Detroit Auto companies being able to attract the engineers, and the computer programmers and software and people they need to make that transition to electric cars,” Grimes said.

Economists also predicted that the unemployment rate will continue to rise to 4.7% over the next year before declining.

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