GVSU expert: Local economic recovery modestly on track

L. William Seidman Center
L. William Seidman Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.
Image Credit: Rachael Mooney

The West Michigan industrial economy remains on the recovery track that began in July, even as restaurants and other establishments continue to face restrictions, said Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business.

Auto parts suppliers are doing extremely well compared to what was expected at this point, said Long, but many are experiencing supply chain problems.

“Even after five months of recovery, our survey participants continue to complain that the supply chains, both foreign and domestic, are still far from getting back to normal,” Long said.

Some firms have had difficulty maintaining production schedules because of delayed shipments of key materials or components, said Long. In addition, the freight companies are often short both trucks and drivers. 

“With a new wave of COVID-19 now upon us, we should not be surprised if our statistics flatten or even turn slightly negative in the next few months,” he said.

Long surveyed local business leaders and his findings below are based on data collected during the last two weeks of November.

The survey's index of business improvement (new orders) came in at +19, up slightly from +16. The production index remained positive, but fell to +2 from +29. The index of purchases came in at +9, modestly below last month’s +12, and the employment index rose to +4, from -2.

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 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."

For more information, contact Brian Long at (269) 870-0428.