GR business concerns for 2018: Workers, parking
Workers are putting the final touches on the Brix, Wolverine Building Group’s apartment complex off Michigan Street NE in Grand Rapids. The $53 million project is another example of the city’s building boom — a boom hampered by a lack of skilled workers.
“Carpentry or steel or welding abilities,” Wolverine Building Group President Curt Mulder said, listing the jobs his company has difficulty filling. “We’ve really had to limit the work that we take on so we can continue to take on the customers that we have.”
Attracting and retaining workers was the No. 1 response the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce got in its annual survey of problems local businesses expect to face.
“Our members are confirming that we’re a fast-growing economy, and so some of the things that we are experiencing come along with that economic growth that we’re experiencing here in West Michigan,” said Rick Baker, the president and CEO of the Chamber.
According to the survey, 85 percent of businesses hired new employees or added jobs in in 2017, up 8 percent from 2016. Eighty percent reported difficulty finding workers.