aerial view, snowy, of Seidman Center next to Grand River.

GVSU economics expert: Steady growth despite supply chain issues

Modest, steady economic growth continues in West Michigan, yet supply and personnel shortages are hindering normal business operations, according to Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business.

Long's report for January showed positive numbers for employment, new orders and production, although Long called pending interest rate hikes and a looming situation in the Ukraine "the elephants in the room."

"If a serious war breaks out and Russia invades Ukraine, all bets are off," Long said. "Domestically, the greatest economic threat remains inflation. The next two or three reports may rise to a rate of 8 percent or so, and then begin a gradual decline for the rest of the year."

Other highlights from Long's report:

  • Sales/new orders rose slightly in January to +18, signifying that new orders of raw materials or services will be made soon
  • The index of employment was down in January to +13, from +17 in December; the most significant personnel shortages are in hospitality and service industries
  • Production index was down slightly in January to +15, from +16 in December

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."