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Local Economy

Find Out More About the Grand Rapids, Forest Hills, and East Grand Rapids Area Economy & Job Market 

Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Grand Rapids is Michigan’s second largest city and as such, a thriving economic center; the business heart of Kent County. Rated by Fortune Magazine as one of the top ten “best cities for business,” Grand Rapids accommodates a broad range of facilities, including industrial parks, technology and science centers, major retail outlets, manufacturing firms, and top schools and universities. From manufacturing to research and development, Grand Rapids' well-designed infrastructure supports a broad range of businesses and offers a wide range of opportunities in the business world.  

Often referred to as “Furniture City” Grand Rapids has gained worldwide recognition for its fine furniture manufacturing—a tradition that stretches back to 1850. Today successful companies such as Steel Case, Knoll and Baker Furniture, are leading residential furniture manufacturers with many employees. 

Other large companies that sustain Grand Rapids are primary retailers like Meijer Inc., D & W Food Centers, and the health and home manufacturing company Altico. Grand Rapids is also home to a large group of manufacturers that supply the automotive industry—including significant companies like Bentler Industries, Adac Plastics, Lacks Enterprises, Lear Corporation, and Meridian Automotive manufacturing group. 

Known to be one of the fastest growing regions in the Upper Midwest, Grand Rapids is praised for its low unemployment rates, economic growth, robust infrastructure and diversity of business opportunities.  

Forest Hills, Michigan 

Most of the Forest Hills work force is employed in the metropolitan area surrounding Grand Rapids city. Close proximity to this regional powerhouse provides workers from the surrounding communities with opportunities in retail, management and administration, manufacturing, technology industries, and more.  

Although most workers choose to commute to nearby Grand Rapids, Forest Hills does have a strong local economy, primarily based in the educational, health, and social service sectors and bolstered by a rapidly developing manufacturing industry. Currently there are about 13,500 people employed in Forest Hills. 

East Grand Rapids 

With Grand Rapids City just ten minutes from downtown East Grand Rapids, this suburb is popular with commuters—those who appreciate living in a friendly and affordable community while being close enough to the economic opportunities offered by the big city. 

This primarily residential suburb does have plenty to offer those who wish to work closer to home. There are two major colleges (Aquinas College and Calvin College) in East Grand Rapids, and a large hospital—the Metropolitan. The city itself employs over a hundred people and the large business district in the heart of East Grand Rapids supplies its residents with numerous clerical and office management jobs. Most of the remainder of the local work force is employed in the retail and service sector.

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