Posted in News on December 15, 2022

Lakeshore Advantage analysis of 120 company interviews dives into 
growth areas, barriers, and opportunities
12/15/2022 -ZEELAND, Mich. – Primary employers in Allegan and Ottawa Counties have experienced remarkable growth in 2022, with 97% reporting increased or stable market share of their key products. Sixty percent of companies interviewed in the West Michigan Lakeshore Region plan to expand in the next three years, according to the 2022 Industry Trends report released today by Lakeshore Advantage. 
“This feedback and insight of more than 100 senior business leaders is invaluable to ensuring our economic development efforts and initiatives are focused on the real-time needs of our area employers,” said Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage. “In the new year, we will continue to work side by side with our primary employers to help ensure this forecasted growth and remove barriers standing in their way now or in the future.”
The report is an analysis of 120 senior-level executive interviews with primary employers in Allegan and Ottawa counties during the 2022 calendar year. The report features primary research and secondary data to show key points about the economic health of area employers and the region as a place to do business. Along with the report, Lakeshore Advantage presented stories of business growth, growing pains and economic growth opportunities during a webcast on Thursday, December 15, to an audience of nearly 200 local business leaders.
Some key points from the report reveals the robust economic health of the region as a place to do business. Of the over 120 companies interviewed:
  • 82% plan to introduce new products, services, or capabilities in the next two years
  • 29% report working added hours of operation/overtime
  • 99% report company investment in employee 
  • training is stable or increasing
  • 61% offer internship, apprenticeship, or co-op opportunities
One of the biggest trends affirmed by the report is that manufacturing is and will continue to be critical to the regional economy. Thirty percent of all jobs in the two-county region are tied to manufacturing. The top industry sectors in our region are Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing, Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing, Food Manufacturing, and Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing. 
The top barriers shared by employers include access to talent and supply chain disruptions. Sixty nine percent of companies surveyed reported recruitment problems, with majority of responses identifying skilled positions. The top positions needed by employers were in engineering, production, and machinists. Eighty percent of employers reported supply chain disruptions in 2022, only half a percentage point difference from 2021. Currently, the largest disruptions are from regional and national suppliers, in 2021 it was primarily international supplier disruptions. 
“Forty percent of companies who reported supply chain disruptions indicated they plan to bring outsourced goods and services back in house,” said Amanda Murray, Vice President of Business Solutions at Lakeshore Advantage. “They’re mostly bringing machining, painting, and anodizing back in house. We’re also seeing more vertical integration as companies identify how they can adapt and take more control over their timelines.”
Manufacturing job growth will be 2% higher in the region than the US average, the effect of which is notable considering manufacturing positions’ average earnings were nearly 30% higher than overall average earnings across industries. 
Lakeshore Advantage, along with Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg Chamber of Commerce conducted over 120 interviews of C-level executives at primary employers in Allegan and Ottawa Counties. The 2022 Business Intelligence Report is the analysis of interviews conducted during the 2022 calendar year. The report was unveiled via a webcast on Thursday, December 15, to an audience of business and community leaders. 
The full report can be viewed HERE.