Ottawa County tops nation in pct. of job growth

The job growth in Ottawa County topped the nation from June 2010 to June 2011, in terms of percentage increase.
Mark Brooky
Jan 14, 2012


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this week released a report of employment trends for the nation’s 322 largest counties for the year ending June 30, 2011. Ottawa County’s 4.7-percent job growth in that period was more than a half-percentage ahead of the runner-up: Montgomery County in Texas (4.1 percent).

Joy Gaasch, president of the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg, was surprised at Ottawa County’s showing at the national level, but not among Michigan’s largest counties. She said the dramatic rebound of the auto industry reflects throughout the state.

“Ottawa County has a number of auto suppliers — but, in general, it is across the board in manufacturing,” Gaasch said of the job growth.

According to the labor bureau report, Ottawa County’s workforce increased 5,500 during the year to nearly 107,000, resulting in the 4.7-percent jump. It stated the largest employment increase occurred in the manufacturing sector, which gained more than 2,500 jobs over the year for a 9-percent increase.

While the news is good, Gaasch said there are some challenges for employers.

“Employers are once again looking for people to fill vacancies — production is up, there’s more demand in the marketplace,” she said. “(Employers) are also finding some challenges in finding skilled workers. ... We need to prepare people with skills for knowledge-based jobs, such as engineers.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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