GRDadof3

West Michigan/Grand Rapids Economy

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Joel Kotkin definitely has a hardon for Grand Rapids.     It's good to see GR on a list like that. 

 

Agreed.  Good publicity!  But I'm a little incredulous - 92.7% increase in college-educated population since 2000?  The college-educated population almost doubled in less than 15 years?  That's just unbelievable.

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The Grand Rapids - Wyoming MSA latest employment stats came out and the area continues to boom (not really any other way to describe it). 15,000 more non-farm jobs since this time last year and 75,000 new jobs since the job market crash/bottom in July 2009.

 

On NPR yesterday they talked about economic estimates of national economic growth next year of 2.6% and 3.3% growth in 2016. With no signs of a housing bubble (homebuilding is still way below the peak years across the country), let's hope this current expansion continues for a while.

 

 

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Do you have a link to that Excel sheet? This would be interesting to graph against other trends.

 

 

Sure, here's the chart on BLS with a link to the xls file:

 

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/SMU26243400000000001?data_tool=XGtable

 

 

Earnings are finally on the rise as well. They had declined through the beginning of 2013:

 

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/SMU26243400500000003

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Interesting to see how wages rose while employment declined when the two are graphed together.

 

png&chart_type=line&recession_bars=on&lo

 

 

That is an interesting comparison. Wages are a "lagging indicator," which explains why they don't follow the curve of employment decline/growth.

 

http://www.moneycrashers.com/leading-lagging-economic-indicators/

 

A lot of people think that wages have generally not grown much because of the spike in 1099/independent contractor employment.

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To add to that, we just got word we'll be swamped with massive orders well into March. 2015 is looking to be massive and management is stepping on the expansion gas. Haven't seen them move this quick to do stuff in quite a while.

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Figures are in for October employment rates and Grand Rapids - Wyoming had a scorching 4% growth over this time last year (15,000 new jobs), continuing its ascension upward. Unemployment hit 4.7%, the lowest it's been since....wait for it....2001. If it continues at this growth rate, by 2020 the workforce will surpass 500,000, putting it larger than Rochester NY, Birmingham, AL and Omaha, NE (all of which are stagnating or not growing nearly as fast).

 

So 66,000 more people are on company payroll than this time in 2009. Staggering.

 

Since workforce is usually about half your population, that would grow the metro to about 1 Million (not including Holland/Grand Haven).

 

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organsnyder, on 20 Nov 2014 - 1:35 PM, said:

This. A well-developed muni broadband system would pay many more development dividends than any road project. We all know how abysmal residential broadband service offerings are, but in many areas of the city, Comcast Business is the only viable option for business connectivity (unless you want to pay hundreds per month for a 1.5mbps T1). We've been able to coast by so far because it's this bad in most of the country; but as more communities get muni broadband, Google Fiber—hell, even FiOS—we're going to be much less competitive.

 

A wrinkle in the whole broadband discussion is cell data.  For some (mostly residential) its become an alternative to traditional home internet as coverage and speed improves while Comcast/Charter/DSL gets more expensive.  Last month near Metro Hospital in Wyoming I was pulling 40 Mbps down, 24 up with T-Mobile.  Through a good part of town I'm getting anywhere between 9 and 40.  Tethering caps certainly need to be factored but I see the typical home user being content with a 10 Mbps connection.  Business of course is another story but fiber needs a residential component to be attractive and saleable. 

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Tethering caps certainly need to be factored

 

That's too important for just a brief mention. HD streaming video eats through a typical wireless cap in a manner of hours. Almost half of U.S. households subscribe to a streaming video service. Many households no longer subscribe to cable TV, and that number is growing.

 

The fact that cellular data would even be viable speaks to the abysmal state of the wired broadband industry.

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That's too important for just a brief mention. HD streaming video eats through a typical wireless cap in a manner of hours. Almost half of U.S. households subscribe to a streaming video service. Many households no longer subscribe to cable TV, and that number is growing.

 

The fact that cellular data would even be viable speaks to the abysmal state of the wired broadband industry.

 

I think you guys are in the wrong thread..

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Thanks.  I was really confused when I visited this thread earlier. :)

 

I was wrong, arcturus was replying to an earlier post in this thread.

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organsnyder, on 08 Dec 2014 - 3:44 PM, said:

 

That's too important for just a brief mention. HD streaming video eats through a typical wireless cap in a manner of hours. Almost half of U.S. households subscribe to a streaming video service. Many households no longer subscribe to cable TV, and that number is growing.

 

The fact that cellular data would even be viable speaks to the abysmal state of the wired broadband industry.

 

While there's a bunch who stream, the link doesn't disclose what kind of stream, HD or otherwise.  SD streams are what, 500 - 700 MB for a 90 minute show?  Perfectly acceptable on laptops and smartphones, not bad on smaller flat screens.  With some cell services down to $60/mth for 10 Gb that's a good number of streams per month for those watching their data caps.  Besides, who really needs a 1 gigabit connection for Netflix at the cost they will be charging for that lovely internet connection ?  The fact is 10 Mbps works pretty well. 

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Besides, who really needs a 1 gigabit connection for Netflix at the cost they will be charging for that lovely internet connection ? The fact is 10 Mbps works pretty well.

10mbps is not sufficient for even just my wife and I. While she streams HD content on her tablet, I'll be streaming 4k and uploading let's plays to YouTube. I can turn on all my lights in my house at once and they all work, why can't I crank all my internet connected devices up at once and not experience issues?

Latency is another issue. While backbone infrastructure and peering agreements can and sometimes do hinder performance, there is nothing as financially sound as fiber optic cable for maintaining low latency across distances. Sure I would love microwave transmitters but they're expensive and not nearly as well supported as fiber and in some extremes, fiber still maintains higher bandwidth throughput. And current wireless is a latency joke.

Wireless carriers have done an incredible trick where they have reverted to selling minutes. Just like AOL selling minutes online in the 1990s, that is exactly what wireless carriers are doing now. Since you have a set "distance" (bandwidth cap) you can travel and a set speed limit (data transfer rate) you travel at, it's only a literal matter of time until you reach it.

10gb bandwidth cap at 10mbps is only 2 Hours 23 Minutes 9.93 Seconds online per month. That is 0.003% of the month you're paying for. That is horrid.

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Edited by temporary.name

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Kent County has now essentially reached what economists call "full employment," with the unemployment rate hitting 4.0% in the latest data, lowest in the State. At Tuesday's Right Place - West Michigan Economic Outlook event, George Erickek of the Upjohn Institute will apparently address this issue, because employment growth in the area is now outstripping population growth, creating what could become a major skilled workforce challenge. Anecdotally I know of several companies in the area that are turning away work or not bidding for work because they don't have the people.

 

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/12/see_which_west_michigan_county.html

 

The other issue Erickek will address is the low wages prevalent in West Michigan (almost 20% below the state average).

 

So many people signed up for this year's event that it had to be moved from the Amway Grand to the JW Marriott:

 

http://www.rightplace.org/News-Events/Event-Calendar/2015-Economic-Outlook-for-West-Michigan.aspx#detail

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The other issue Erickek will address is the low wages prevalent in West Michigan (almost 20% below the state average).

 

 

 

Perhaps he could also address the embedded provincial hiring mindset that is still prevalent around even the largest companies in west Michigan.  As in, "I see you have won awards and been very successful in your work in industry X.  Well, we are in industry Y and unless you've worked in our industry you just couldn't possibly understand how to be successful doing the same job at our company."

Edited by wingbert

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Perhaps he could also address the embedded provincial hiring mindset that is still prevalent around even the largest companies in west Michigan.  As in, "I see you have won awards and been very successful in your work in industry X.  Well, we are in industry Y and unless you've worked in our industry you just couldn't possibly understand how to be successful doing the same job at our company."

Most people who change fields run into that obstacle and hear those exact words, especially if he/she has few connections. That's not unique to West Michigan.

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Perhaps he could also address the embedded provincial hiring mindset that is still prevalent around even the largest companies in west Michigan.  As in, "I see you have won awards and been very successful in your work in industry X.  Well, we are in industry Y and unless you've worked in our industry you just couldn't possibly understand how to be successful doing the same job at our company."

 

I know specifically that the large healthcare organizations in the area have gotten better about that. They're running so low on good candidates that they'll take people who have never worked in healthcare for a lot of their administrative/marketing/management functions.

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I know specifically that the large healthcare organizations in the area have gotten better about that. They're running so low on good candidates that they'll take people who have never worked in healthcare for a lot of their administrative/marketing/management functions.

 

 

Also recruiters are going hard outside of the region, and offering compensation packages a good deal above what would be considered the regional norm. 

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