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Current Business Trends: Growth Accelerates

Posted on March 02, 2011

The greater Grand Rapids industrial economy experienced accelerated 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 February. The survey’s index of business improvement, called new orders, advanced to +45, up from +25. In a similar move, the production index rose to +41 from +29. The index of purchases edged up to +33, from +29. The employment index rose to +35, up from +29.

Long said the recovery of the office furniture industry is part of the strong report for this month. He said auto sales are still on track and even expanding and that business conditions for auto parts producers remain positive. At the national level, Long said the recovery continues at a moderate pace and that the industrial sector is leading the nation out of the recession. Long predicted the month of March will build on this success.

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 said while employment numbers are up, it will take a while before it's felt in West Michigan (audio).

Long said the office furniture industry is leading the strong report and that the auto industry has really taken off (audio).

Long said the housing market continues to be a "wet blanket" (audio).

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