Ring the Bell!
The vibrant Downtown Muskegon many remember is back and it shows in the numbers.

Holidays in the City kicked off last week with the Community Christmas Tree Lighting and Shop Small Saturday. The tree lighting had a record breaking attendance of over 2,000 people! Local businesses downtown also reported Small Business Saturday being a record breaking day for sales.

“The momentum that we are seeing downtown is incredible,” said Megan Jones, Downtown Muskegon Now Events and Promotions Director. “With events happening every weekend and many new developments under way, people are again coming to Downtown as a destination."

Strong Downtown's create an environment that spurs larger regional investments. These dollars are returned to the community many times over through higher property values, new jobs, new residents and renewed civic pride. Click here to get the latest on what's going on in Downtown Muskegon.
Designing the Convention Center
Progress continues for the $15 million convention center in Downtown Muskegon. The County has contracted with Progressive AE to review 4 th Street as the Muskegon County Convention Center site. This option means vacating 4 th Street between the L.C. Walker Arena and the Holiday Inn, connecting all three buildings.

Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CS&L), an advisory and planning firm who specializes in the convention, sport, entertainment and visitor industries, has also been contracted by the County for a number of essential steps to move the convention center development forward.

“We are excited the convention center development process is moving forward. These two engagements will help us create the best possible plan. A convention center will change the face of this community and have a big impact on business development,” said Bob Lukens, Muskegon County Community Development Director.

The new convention center could break ground as soon as late 2018 with a tentative completion date of 2021. Click here for more information.
Move Back to Muskegon!
Nearly 40 job candidates and 10 companies participated in Muskegon County’s first-ever ReThink West Michigan networking mixer.

While talent attraction and retention continue to be a top priority for the business community, the ReThink West Michigan event connected those "in town" for the holidays with employers looking for talent in a casual, professional networking setting.

Employers were seeking applicants for careers ranging from engineering to accounting to supply chain management and more.

"The employers were very pleased with the quality of talent represented," says Darryl Todd, Interim President & CEO of Muskegon Area First. " Several employers indicated they would be following up with job-seekers immediately to proceed to the next step in the application phase. We are excited to learn what hiring results occur as a result of this event."

The event was held at the Block Wednesday, November 22. Click here to learn more about ReThink West Michigan.
Zipping up to the Next Level
The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex launched a crowdfunding campaign in September to raise $50,000 by November 13th for an on-site zip line. The two month campaign ended up exceeding its goal by $5,476. In addition, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has agreed to match the donations with $50,000.

The zip line project is a first step to the complex's "Many Reasons for All Seasons" plan to be a year-round destination. The push toward year-round recreation comes after years of unpredictable winters.

"I'm excited to see a new offering in this transition to year-round to start to take shape," said sports complex executive director Jim Rudicil. The efforts will help "identify Muskegon as a recreation mecca."

With the funds secure, the next steps are to send out requests for proposals for the project. Construction is scheduled for spring 2018. Click here to learn more about the project.
Employment Numbers

Labor Force
October 2016 = 78,100
October 2017 = 76,300

October 2016 = 74,500
October 2017 = 72,300
Employment by Sector  

Goods Producing 
October 2016 = 16,700
October 2017 = 16,200

Service Providing 
October 2016 = 48,900
October 2017 = 47,900
Home Sales (Muskegon County)

Homes Sold
October 2016 = 236
October 2017 = 293

Average Sale Price
October 2016 = $136,130
October 2017 = $124,271
Michigan Works! Statistics

Known Jobs Filled 
October 2016 = 254
October 2017 = 123

Job Seekers (Unique Visitors)
October 2016 = 1,584
October 2017 = 1,505
Business Counseling

October 2016 = 46
October 2017 = 30
Airport Traffic

Takeoffs & Landings
October 2016 = 2,100
October 2017 = 2,527

Airport Cargo in lbs. 
October 2016 = 7,887
October 2017 = 75

Commercial Passengers
October 2016 = 3,158
October 2017 = 2,421
Top Industries Advertised Online Demand

October 2016 = 121
October 2017 = 109

Health Care & Social Assistance
October 2016 = 275
October 2017 = 195

Retail Trade
October 2016 = 125
October 2017 = 167
Top Muskegon Job Occupations Advertised Online (October 2017)

Truck Drivers
174 New Job Postings

Retail Salespersons
92 New Job Postings

Customer Service Representatives
45  New Job Postings  

First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers
41 New Job Postings
Statistics provided by:
The Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth; Local Municipalities, Michigan Association of Realtors, Muskegon County Airport, Muskegon Area First, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Small Business Development Center, and West Michigan Works!

CLICK HERE to read the latest Economic Development Update Newsletter from Muskegon Area First and Muskegon County .
A publication of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, Employers Association of West Michigan and Muskegon Area First.