Grand Rapids ranks No. 14 for job growth in ‘advanced industries’


A look inside a “super suite” of customized operating room equipment by Berchtold, which was acquired by Kalamazoo-based Stryker, a maker of medical devices and equipment. Photo via

When compared to 250 of the country’s largest metros, Grand Rapids ranks high for job growth in “advanced industries.”

A new report released today by the Brookings Institute looked at advanced industry output and employment growth in the metros from 2013-2015.

The Brookings Institute says advanced industries "encompass the nation’s tech sector at its broadest and most consequential." The "supersector" is comprised of 50 R&D and STEM "worker-intensive" industries, such as automotive, medical devices and software. 

Grand Rapids ranks 14th for growth, seeing its jobs in advanced industries grow by 5.55 percent during the time period studied.

Grand Rapids also ranks 28th in the country for its output by advanced industries, which has grown 4.16 percent on average during the past two years.

The national average for job growth was 2.46 percent, and the national average for output was 2.7 percent.

Grand Rapids employs 52,154 full-time workers in jobs in advanced industries, with those jobs supporting 41,720 indirect jobs in other industries within the region, according to the report.

Grand Rapids’ advanced industries are also responsible for $8.8 billion in output in the region, which accounts for 17.6 percent of all output in the region.

Grand Rapids is among the 47 metros that managed to increase the share of its output derived from advanced industries between 2010 and 2015.

It is also among the auto-focused metros that have enjoyed “rapid growth in output and employment.”

In comparing the country’s 50 states, the report found that Michigan continues to rank high on absolute employment and output measures, but the state experienced a significant slowing of growth between 2013 and 2015, along with other manufacturing states, such as Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.

The Brookings Institute also summarizes the state of advanced industries on a national level in the report.

“What emerges from the update is a mixed picture of progress and drift that registers continued momentum in the manufacturing sub-sector, a major slump in energy and strong, widely distributed growth in high-tech services — all of which adds up to a somewhat narrowed map of growth overall,” the report says.

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