West Michigan economy continues modest growth, says GVSU researcher

Exterior photo of Seidman College of Business
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

A survey of West Michigan businesses and managers conducted by a Grand Valley researcher shows a promising trend of modest economic growth for the region’s economy. 

Key metrics in the monthly survey conducted by Brian Long, director of supply management research at the Seidman College of Business, ticked upward for the third straight month. Despite this positive trajectory, some of April’s respondents approached the year’s second quarter with caution.

Long’s survey of the region’s purchasing managers pointed toward two pivotal indices rising in April. New orders, or business improvement, rose six points while production, or business output, climbed 14 points. 

Long said industries like auto parts suppliers and office furniture manufacturers are maintaining their momentum, despite challenges in the global supply chain.

“I do believe that at least some of our statistics will moderate as the summer moves along, but there's still no sign of an impending doom even if the economy does slow down some, which is what the Federal Reserve wanted to happen,” Long said. “They just don't want it to slow down too much.”

Even with the encouraging numbers in the GVSU survey, Long noted that among surveyed respondents the mood was decidedly reserved, pointing toward slower growth over the next few months.  

“Locally, our current statistics depict stable growth, but our April anecdotal comments from our survey participants continue to grow more cautious,” Long said. “In general, the survey respondents now expect slower growth for the next few months, but still little probability of a recession for the rest of 2024.”

Here’s a look at the key index results from April’s survey of West Michigan businesses:

  • New orders index (business improvement): +16 vs. +10 in March
  • Production index (output): +16 vs. +2 in March
  • Employment index: +7 vs. +9 in March
  • Lead times index: -15 vs. -2 in March

More information about the survey and an archive of past surveys are available on the Seidman College of Business website.


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