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West Michigan economy returns to slow growth

Posted on October 04, 2013

The greater Grand Rapids industrial economy has returned to slow growth, 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 State University.

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

The survey’s index of business improvement, called new orders, flipped back to positive at +6, up from -4. The production index also turned positive at +2, up from -6. The employment index jumped from 0 to +10, depicting a continuation of the employment growth in West Michigan.
Long said, at this point, he is not too concerned about the effects of the government shutdown for Michigan. “We will probably see little economic impact in Michigan unless the shutdown lasts more than a month,” he said.

Long said local firms are doing a credible job of managing inventories and barring economic disruptions at the national or international level, the current trend of slow growth for West Michigan should continue. He said some auto parts firms say new business may not come until October or November when the major firms begin assessing the acceptance of their 2014 models and clarify their forecasts for the winter and spring selling seasons. Others are at full capacity, and see no change coming in the immediate future.

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 slow growth should continue for West Michigan (audio).

* Long said he is not worried about the effects of the government shutdown (audio).

* Long said several industries will help West Michigan stay positive (audio).

* Long said he was actually glad to see auto sales drop for the first time in more than two years (audio).

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