THIS JUST IN: Michigan’s Small Business Strength, Affordable Cost of Living Continue to Receive National Recognition

Friday, February 26, 2021

As Michigan’s economic recovery continues to build momentum following the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, several communities across the state are receiving national attention for the strength of their small business employment and talent opportunities.

Small businesses in West Michigan are a critical economic driver in the region, with Grand Rapids coming in at #9 for small business employment in large metro areas across the U.S. The ranking, by Construction Coverage, found that more than 50% of employment in the Grand Rapids metro area is provided by 19,092 small businesses. Up the Lake Michigan coastline, Traverse City was also ranked #9 for small business employment in the small metro category.

Though a suite of services focused on helping Michigan companies grow in the state, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is committed to helping small businesses make connections, expand into bigger markets through trade and export opportunities and gain access to new investors and critical capital. Supporting small businesses navigating COVID-19 has also been a significant effort over the past year, with MEDC deploying more than $240 million in small business relief to more than 24,400 businesses statewide, helping retain 200,000 jobs.

Low cost of living with a Pure Michigan quality of life

Meanwhile, Kalamazoo came in at #8 in The Ascent’s annual ranking of ‘The 10 Best Cities for High Salaries and Low Cost of Living in the Midwest’ with a cost of living index 23.2% below the national average. The list determines a city's affordability based on how the typical resident's income compares to the cost of living. The report also notes the high density of employment in life sciences in Kalamazoo and the surrounding area – not surprising with the Southwest region of Michigan having five times more workers than the U.S. average in the medical device sector.

Statewide, Michigan’s cost of living comes in at 10% below the national average – ranking it as the fourth most affordable state in the country. As access to talent continues to be a top consideration for business expansion, Michigan’s affordable cost of living is matched only by its high quality of life – and with direct access to thousands of miles of freshwater shoreline, significant cultural attractions, thriving downtowns and abundant recreational opportunities the state is a place talent wants to call home.

“We are committed to creating an environment where our Michigan businesses can thrive and grow, while also creating opportunities for new business expansions in communities across the state,” said Josh Hundt, Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer for the MEDC. “Michigan is a place that offers a competitive business climate, along with communities like Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Kalamazoo where people can live, work and play while finding meaningful career opportunities.”

To learn more about how the MEDC can support small businesses in Michigan visit

To learn more about Michigan’s affordable cost of living and growth opportunities on the state’s West Coast visit

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.