The Central West Michigan (CWM) area created about 29,500 nonfarm payroll jobs in 2013, of which more than 64 percent were in the Grand Rapids metro area. CWM private businesses created more than 3,550 jobs in the manufacturing sector alone in 2013. Nonfarm payroll jobs grew at 2.6 percent year-over-year in 2013Q4, which is 1.3 percent higher than the same quarter of 2012. Moving forward to 2014, we expect job growth to moderate as manufacturing industries add fewer jobs.
The unemployment rate in CWM declined to 6.8 percent in 2013Q4 after a slight increase in Q3. We expect the unemployment rate to fall continuously after 2014Q1 due to declining labor force participation and improving total employment. Both single and multifamily housing starts grew stronger in the second half of 2013. We expect the total housing starts to moderate in early 2014 and then resume their upward trajectory. House prices are expected to grow in the first quarter of 2014, consistent with income growth, before moderating thereafter through 2015.
Expanding private businesses across the country are expected to grow the demand for office furniture through 2014, thereby providing a boost to the region’s furniture manufacturing businesses. As income and job opportunities grow, U.S. auto sales are also expected to increase through 2014. This will continue to energize the auto industry in the area.
Click here for the complete Central West Michigan Regional Economic Update: CentralWestMI 2013Q4.