Skip to main content

GV Now

GVSU economist: Growth rate improves in West Michigan

  • Aerial photo of GVSU's Pew Campus

Posted on September 08, 2017

After a summer lull, the West Michigan economy resumed the positive growth pattern the area has seen for the past eight years, according to a Grand Valley State University expert.

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business, surveyed local business leaders and his findings below are based on data collected during the last two weeks of August. See the full report here.

The survey's index of business improvement (new orders) came in at +19, well above last month's +8. The production index increased to +20 from +6. The index of purchases moved higher to +24 from +12, and the employment index remained positive at +21, up from +20. 

Long said most auto parts suppliers continue to express concern about slower sales figures that have been reported every month since the beginning of the year, but, so far, none of the firms in the local survey are talking about major sales declines. 

He added that some capital equipment firms are reporting weaker sales due to the slowdown in the auto parts industry.

Long said that the office furniture industry continues to show signs of topping out at the present level, but no significant setbacks have been reported.

"Most firms realize that we are now over eight years into the recovery from the Great Recession, but none of the respondents feel that a major decline is coming any time soon," he said. "Having successfully recovered from one of the sharpest dips in recent history, many of our local firms have wisely resisted the temptation to over expand."

The Institute for Supply Management survey is a monthly survey of business conditions that includes 45 purchasing managers in the greater Grand Rapids area and 25 in Kalamazoo. The respondents are from the region's major industrial manufacturers, distributors and industrial service organizations. It is patterned after a nationwide survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management. Each month, the respondents are asked to rate eight factors as "same," "up" or "down." 

For more information, contact Brian Long at (269) 323-2359.