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GVSU economist: Strong pace continues

  • Seidman College of Business

Posted on June 06, 2018

Slow growth in the local economy during the past several months has turned into faster growth, while area business leaders worry about a possible tariff war, said Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business. 

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

The survey's index of business improvement (new orders) came in at +30, up slightly from +28. The production index rose to +37 from +28. The index of purchases eased to +19 from +34, and the employment index rose to +32 from +23.  

"The rally among most of our local capital equipment firms is still continuing, largely because of the recently passed tax advantages for new capital investments," said Long. "The automotive parts producers are still somewhat cautious, but most are adjusting to the new market for fewer sedans and more SUVs."

Long said the office furniture industry is steady and most industrial distributors reported a good month, which he said is typical for this time of year.  

"Our survey of area business leaders showed they are cautiously optimistic about the months to come, and many are justifiably concerned about an impending tariff war," said Long. "Just as last month, personnel shortages continue to plague many firms with no end in sight." 

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) 323-2359.