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Grand Rapids ranks 3rd in nation

GRGRAND RAPIDS, MI — Even Birgit Klohs was surprised the Greater Grand Rapids region has one of the best economies in the nation.

Usually when the region is ranked, it’s compared to similar size regions. For the first time, the Grand Rapids-Wyoming qualified in the top category alongside metropolitan heavyweights such as Chicago, Boston and Seattle.

“If we had ranked No. 1 in our category, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all,” said the CEO of The Right Place, the region’s economic development organization.

Grand Rapids only lagged behind Denver and Houston in the study that compared the nation’s 373 metropolitan statistical areas, according to a report published this month on Area Development’s website.

And Klohs pointed out, this ranking isn’t based on “feel good” results of a survey but “real robust data” from the Bureau of Labor and other credible sources that measure job growth and economic development.

“It’s means the work that is being done collectively for our region is obviously paying off,” Klohs said.