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Current business trends holding steady

Posted on October 04, 2010

The greater Grand Rapids industrial economy remains steady, 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 September. The survey’s index of business improvement, called new orders, rose modestly to +33, up from +30. However, the production index eased slightly to +36, down from +42. The index of purchases eased to +28 from +38. The employment index moderated to +44 from +46.

Long said 50 percent of the firms surveyed reported adding staff.  “Overall, this month’s report still depicts the Greater Grand Rapids economy growing at a modest pace. So far, it looks like this trend may continue for a few more months,” Long said.      

Long said the revival in the office furniture business is responsible for stronger sales numbers being reported, while automotive parts suppliers are still doing well, and production levels are stabilizing. He said automobile sales rose at a rate of 29 percent for the industry as a whole, with Ford reporting a 40 percent increase over September of 2009.   

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 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


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

* Long says the furniture industry is finally starting to turn around (audio).

* Long says automotive sales rebounded from last month (audio).

* Long says the November elections will affect the local economy (audio).

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