Current Business Trends: Modest Recovery

Brian Long
Brian Long
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The greater Grand Rapids economy has resumed its modest recovery, according to a survey compiled by Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.                                    

The results come from a survey conducted the last two weeks of December. The index of new orders — which tracks business improvement — rose to +20 from +10.  However, the production index eased to +14 from +16.  Typical of the holiday season, activity in the purchasing offices retreated to +0 from +10.  The index of employment flipped back to positive at +8, up from -5. 

"Our statistics still depict slow but steady growth, even though the pace of the recovery has slowed since the summer and early fall of 2009," said Long. "We still only have one firm in the office furniture business reporting significantly better business conditions. The others are stable at the present level, which is not bad given the overall economy. Overall, the mode is still cautiously optimistic for the start of 2010."

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

AUDIO CLIPS:

• Long says West Michigan economy is seeing slow but steady growth (audio)
• Long says it appears the economy is on the edge of taking off (audio)
• Long says the automotive industry will continue to recover in 2010 because of driving habits (audio)
• Long says 2010 looks promising except for the housing market (audio)