When it comes to predicting the future of the Grand Rapids’ economy for 2024, Grand Valley researchers at the Seidman College of Business are seeing a mix of signals from data they monitor and what local businesses tell them.
Paul Isely, professor of economics and associate dean of the Seidman College of Business, presented the findings from his Grand Rapids Economic Forecast to members of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce during their 136th Annual Meeting at DeVos Place on January 31.
While some data in the research suggests the local economy will slow through the first half of 2024, Isely said there are also several positives to emerge from the report indicating a healthy uptick and strong second half to the year.
Consumer spending will be a key factor in the region’s economy, Isely said. Adjusted for inflation, consumers saw their savings depleted by the end of 2023, requiring their spending to be increasingly debt driven, particularly among young workers.
“During 2023, the U.S. consumer kept us out of recession,” Isely said. “If it weren't for their desire to spend so much money, we would have had a recession.”