Grand Rapids: Manufacturing a comeback

By the City Journal, published by the Manhattan Institute

Jun 18, 2018

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In 2011, Newsweek branded Grand Rapids, Michigan, as one of “America’s Dying Cities.” Outraged locals quickly pulled together a response, in the form of a quirky YouTube video of residents lip-synching to Don McLean’s “American Pie” that became a viral sensation, racking up more than 5 million views.

It was easy for outsiders to assume that Grand Rapids was dying. Michigan is America’s most notorious case study of industrial decline. The state never really recovered from the downturn of the early 2000s, spending the entire decade mired in a malaise that became known as the “one-state recession.”

Yet coming out of the Great Recession, and particularly since 2010, Grand Rapids has become a surprising economic star in the Midwest. Its job count has swelled 19.8 percent since 2010—the fastest rate of any major midwestern metro area, more than making up for the previous decade’s loss.

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