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blueman459

Grand Rapids Metro Economy

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I'm curious what you Guys and Gals feel about the future of the area's ecomony. I've been reading a lot of articles and the outlook is poor. Do you think our city will face the issues that are plagueing Detroit. Raising a family here I'm just wondering if one day I'll be forced to pack up and leave this great area.

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Employers here need to shake loose and offer better pay; not hide their miserliness under the guise of "competitive wages."

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Is there not much union in GR?

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It depends on who you listen to about the economy: WOOD TV8, we're all going under :P But then there are other reports out...

http://www.mlive.com/business/grpress/inde...0790.xml&coll=6

http://www.mibiz.com/absolutenm/templates/...=7334&zoneid=25

...that paint a different picture. Who knows. I would say if you work in an "old-school" manufacturing plant that has been living off the same GM or Steelcase contracts for years, WATCH OUT! Your days are numbered. And as far as city budget cuts go, I've seen budgets slashed in even the best economies.

Is anyone else here old enough to remember companies manipulating the stock market in the mid-90's by announcing (and then proceeding) to cut 10's of thousands of jobs? Companies like AT&T come to mind. This was supposedly in the roaring 90's.

If you are willing to constantly improve your education and re-invent yourself, you can make a good living pretty much anywhere. I personally have been asked to move to other regions, like Madison and South Carolina by my employers in the past. No thanks, I'll pass.

Just my take on it.

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Hood asked:

"Is there not much union in GR?'

Not much; GR workers are supposedly touted as having a "great work ethic". In other words, they're mainly boss-pleasing sheep. (There are exceptions, of course.)

What you will find here is lots of renegade entrepreneurs. Many women I know who said, in effect, "F**K this sh*t!" to boss-man, are forging ahead on their own, and quite successfully, too. And some area banks are finally getting it through their fire-proof skulls that self-employment is maybe, not such a horrifying risk after all, maybe, possibly.

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Hood asked:

"Is there not much union in GR?'

Not much; GR workers are supposedly touted as having a "great work ethic". In other words, they're mainly boss-pleasing sheep. (There are exceptions, of course.)

What you will find here is lots of renegade entrepreneurs. Many women I know who said, in effect, "F**K this sh*t!" to boss-man, are forging ahead on their own, and quite successfully, too. And some area banks are finally getting it through their fire-proof skulls that self-employment is maybe, not such a horrifying risk after all, maybe, possibly.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm glad to live in a union stronghold, but even with that I strongly favor some kind of self employment. In the long run I'd like to get into real-estate development, but I'm only 17 so that's a long ways down the road.

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GrDad you nailed it...you have to be willing to change. People need to prepare for a change in the economy. You aren't guaranteed a job. Period. Manufacturing gives way to "informational" jobs, which will give way to something else later. Be willing to change and adapt.

Hood, coming from someone who was taught "Union, union, union all the way" and who is now self employed, get ready to leave most of your union thought process behind if you truly want to become self-employed. Nothing it promised, nothing is guaranteed, you're going to have to take risks with no promise of your "good union protection" when you own the business. You'll suddenly develop a whole new perspective when you're the one who put it all on the line to get started.

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There was just a report out, last week( I heard this on Wood Radio) by Manpower, that said thirty percent of Grand Rapids employers were planning on hiring. If I had to put my take on it, I'd say this area is well on it's way to diversifying it's economy. We still have a strong manufacturing base, but we are definately headed in the right direction for the future. As far as unions go, I have absolutely no desire to start an idealogical war, and I desperately don't want to sound as insensitive, and fiscally conservative as a great deal of the populous base around here, I feel their days are numbered. Unions are now pretty much fortune 100 businesses of their own, and from what i've seen alot of them only care about collecting the union dues, rather than improving the lives of the workers they serve. I think they were very important in creating a middle class, that we now have, and making large ambivalent corporations, take some resposibility for breaking the backs of millions of men they made fortunes on. What scares me is when General Motors, once the largest grossing corporate entity in the world, and a simbol of power for the state of Michigan, is crumbling. I won't blame labor unions for the fall of our auto industry. They agreed to the enormous labor and health care costs that are now sinking them, and they have noone but themselves to blame for their inability to compete with the Japanese, it's their own lack of vision and inneficciency and incompetance bringing them down, but I ask you, where will the unions be without GM, or Ford to provide the jobs for them, where would the state of Michigan be without our international powerhouses, it scares me to think of this State that I am so proud to be from, drifting away into obscurity, considered nothing but another

West Virginia or Mississippi. I in part would blame labor unions for that. This country functions on an advanced, service economy. When you have a mass populous of people who rely so heavily on the manufacturing sector, and lack the vision to educate themselves to get work outside of it, you'll find yourself in a less than optimistic outlook for the future.

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Even though GR is still deeply rooted in manufacturing it is still one of the most diverse economic areas in the nation. We have a market leader in every single federal catagory except one. The only other city in the country that can claim this... New York.

Talk about economic diversity.

Shifting from manufacturing to service based industries will be difficult and will probably hurt. However, in the long run GR seems to be poised to be one of the rare few that have actually been able to pull it off. I think that the drive behind this ability is that manufacturing here is not tied to one large corporation or single union control - there are many different levels and surely not all of it will vanish. Most of the work done around here is more skilled than your tyipcal button pushing factory work.

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Here is my opinion.

Manufacturing is going the way of agriculture. Basically, we need less people to produce more stuff. This is good in the long run, but very difficult in the short hall particularly for communities like GR that were/are strongholds of manufacturing. Coinciding with the decline of farming was the rise in manufacturing, and our current situation really isn

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Here is my opinion.

Manufacturing is going the way of agriculture.  Basically, we need less people to produce more stuff.  This is good in the long run, but very difficult in the short hall particularly for communities like GR that were/are strongholds of manufacturing.  Coinciding with the decline of farming was the rise in manufacturing, and our current situation really isn

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To add to this on the positive side:

The GVSU Engineering School expansion will still not be enough to fill the local demand, from Dean Paul Plotkowski (in the GRBJ)

There are now over 35,000 people working in health-care in Kent County alone, and the State of Michigan will need 100,000 more health-care workers by 2015, (from the GRBJ)

Smiths Aerospace has TRIPLED its local engineering workforce to over 1100, with the need to add 100 to 150 more this year alone, mostly computer and electrical engineers, (from the GRBJ)

We know that the new Medical Complex on Michigan will add another 2000 workers, mostly medical research, professional and technical trades (that pretty much replaces Electrolux, and probably higher paying jobs), and not to mention the thousands of spin-off jobs related to this massive project.

Van Andel Institute will look to add another 400 world-class scientists after their coming expansion, not to mention the spin-offs.

An ex-exec from Steelcase reinvented himself and started his own business, Jim Stelter of Stelter Partners, on Ionia Avenue downtown. After only three years, they now employ 40 people and have sales goals this year of $25 Mil.. They specialize in environmentally-friendly wheat board office furniture, mainly supplying to school renovations.

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:iM_Xe...ids+press&hl=en

I know things aren't rosy everywhere, but I think things are headed in the right direction.

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That is all great news! The spin offs that you mention is what really interests me. What can we do for them as a city to help them grow into huge companies that employ thousands and thousand of people? What does it take for these types of things to happen?

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That is all great news!  The spin offs that you mention is what really interests me.  What can we do for them as a city to help them grow into huge companies that employ thousands and thousand of people?  What does it take for these types of things to happen?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's funny that you ask that. As I was going down Michigan today to get pictures of Lemmen Holton, it hit me that residential condos along Michigan would be way cool! Putting all of that health-care together is nice, but it needs to be broken up a bit so that it meshes with Heritage Hill to the South. There are two dilapidated buildings just East of McDonalds that could come down and make room for some new mid-rise units, targeted to health-care workers and interns with their strange hours. It's right across the street from a pharmacy, a diner, and dry-cleaner and next door to Bagel Beanery :)

Just a thought. Maybe it could be PWCD III :thumbsup:

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