A Competitive Advantage

A Competitive Advantage

Many world-class corporations call West Michigan home. Why?

The Lakeshore is a stronghold of expertise in design, engineering, and manufacturing. In fact, 23.2% of Ottawa County and 24.9% of Allegan County are highly skilled in manufacturing, almost triple the national average of 9%. In 2012, there was an 8% growth in manufacturing production, the highest of any region in the state. Individually, these competencies are useful, but together, they form the framework for ongoing innovation.

Among the top 10 counties in Michigan, Ottawa County is the fastest growing county in the state. From November 2011 to November 2012, our area has experienced 4.8% job growth, nearly double that of the rest of the state. As of April 2013, the state unemployment rate is at 8.4% while Ottawa County is at 6.8%.

Our utility rates are well below national averages. Our people are among the happiest and the healthiest in nation. And our taxes are some of the lowest in the State. Put simply, doing business here costs less.

The men and women who work in West Michigan are some of the most talented in the country, and our institutions are committed to cultivating that talent through training and education.

Our community was built on collaboration and cooperation. These same values thrive in the workplace, where we succeed and grow through respect, trust and teamwork.  Our unionization rates are below the national average of 11.3% with the percentage of unionized employees in the Holland/Zeeland area being 4.6%. 

Our established industry clusters, including furniture, prepared foods, design, manufacturing and agriculture have deep roots in our community and work together on innovative ideas to support the industries.  Our newest cluster, advanced energy storage, builds upon our anchor companies currently making lithium ion batteries to power electric cars.  For more on Michigan’s SmartCoast, visit www.MichiganSmartCoast.com

Beneath the surface, we have an industrial-grade backbone of infrastructure that can support businesses of any size, small or large—or very large.

Those are just a few of the reasons West Michigan is one of the fastest growing regions in the Midwest. We can’t say we’re surprised.