Current Business Trends: Modest Growth Continues

Brian Long
Brian Long
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The greater Grand Rapids economy's pace of modest growth continues, according to the results of monthly a survey compiled by Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.                                    

The survey results are based on data collected in the last two weeks of February. The new orders index, which tracks business improvement, eased to +6, down from last month's +14. In a similar move, the production index backtracked to +8 from +22. The index of purchases remained positive but came in at +14, down slightly from last month's +17. The best news for the month came from the employment index, which jumped to +9 from +0.  [Listen to audio clips below]

"All in all, the pace of the recovery continues to slow," Long said. "Although there is no evidence at this time to suggest any fundamental new problems, the recovery will probably continue to be restrained."

Long noted that it was a rough month for auto firms that supply Toyota, but the remainder of the area's auto parts suppliers filed positive reports.  Conditions were seasonally weaker for several of our capital equipment firms, and the slight dip for the office furniture business has extended into a second month.

The Institute for Supply Management, Greater Grand Rapids 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 purchasing managers from the region's major industrial manufacturers, distributors, and industrial service organizations. It is patterned after a nationwide survey conduced by the Institute for Supply Management. Each month, the respondents are asked to rate eight factors as "same," "up" or "down." An expanded version of this report and details of the methodology used to compile it are available at www.gvsu.edu/scblogistics.

MEDIA: Call Brian J. Bowe at (616) 331-2221 or e-mail boweb@gvsu.edu to arrange interviews with Long.

Audio Clips

  • Long says office furniture industry is still struggling and doesn't show signs of bouncing back just yet [audio]
  • Long says Toyota has bounced back and other auto parts dealers are doing better [audio]
  • Long says we should continue to see slow growth in the coming months [audio]
  • Long says real estate is expected to do better next month because of incentives like low interest rates [audio]