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Business Trends: Moderate Growth Continues

Posted on February 03, 2011

The greater Grand Rapids industrial economy continues to experience modest growth, according to the results of a monthly 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 January. The survey’s index of business improvement, called new orders, eased slightly to +25, down from +31. The production index rose higher to +29 from +19. The index of purchases rose modestly to +29, up from +19. The employment index rose slightly to +29, up from +27.

Long said the recovery of the office furniture industry is still on track, stronger auto sales have resulted in more business for local auto parts suppliers, and several local firms are approaching full capacity. He said, in general, performance for industrial distributors remains positive and although capital equipment firms are still recovering, this month’s performance was mixed. Performance for the firms related to the aircraft industry was generally down.         

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 purchasing managers 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.” An expanded version of this report and details of the methodology used to compile it are available at


* Brian Long says the local economic recovery is still on track (audio).

* Long says more local companies are beginning to hire (audio).

* Long says auto parts suppliers are back to where they were in 2005 (audio).

* Long says nationally, there was a record number of news orders last month (audio).

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