The economic outlook for the short term is mixed for Michigan's Great Southwest. The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research believes hiring conditions will remain soft in the coming months in the Niles-Benton Harbor MSA based on a rise in initial unemployment claims in the fourth quarter of 2012 by 4.4%. Analyst George Erickcek is predicting job growth of 1% for the region this year following a 1.2% rise last quarter. As for West Michigan as a whole, the Holland-Grand Haven area looks strongest, as Erickcek predicts a 2.3% employment increase this year and 2% for 2014.
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