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Local economy continues to grow slowly

Posted on November 07, 2013

The greater Grand Rapids industrial economy continues to grow slowly, according to the results of a monthly survey compiled by Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley.

The survey results are based on data collected during the last two weeks of October.

The survey’s index of business improvement, called new orders, rose to +15, up from +6. The production index advanced to +13, up from +2. The employment index flattened to +0 from +10.
“The resumed resurgence of auto sales has resulted in some new quoting opportunities for our local auto parts suppliers,” said Long. “Optimism is growing over the 2014 model year. Meanwhile, the office furniture firms reported a slight uptick in activity in October, but the reports from the industry’s Tier I suppliers and some of the smaller firms were flat. For industrial distributors, the reports were mixed, although the bias, for whatever reason, was to the down side. The reports from the capital equipment firms were generally positive. Overall, most firms remain stable and profitable.”

Long said local economic implications of Obamacare are starting to surface. He said smaller firms are scared by the complexity of the new requirements and taxes and are not hiring or expanding as they should.

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.” An expanded version of this report and details of the methodology used to compile it are available at

For more information, contact Brian Long at (269) 323-2359.


* Long said the local economy continues to grow slowly (audio).

* Long said growth in the auto industry has tapped out (audio).

* Long said unemployment increased and more skilled workers are needed (audio).

* Long said export numbers finally increased (audio).

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