The West Michigan economy is still growing, a Grand Valley State University economist said.
Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business, surveyed local business leaders and his findings below are based on data collected during the last two weeks of June.
The survey’s index of business improvement (new orders) came in at +31, a modest improvement over last month’s +27. The production index edged up to +26 from +19. The index of purchases remained virtually unchanged at +22, while the employment index jumped to +23 from +13.
Long said slower auto sales have resulted in most auto parts suppliers showing signs of plateauing, but no major firms have reported a significant drop in sales. He said some firms have seen an uptick in quoting activity.
Long also said the office furniture industry continues to show signs of topping out, but no decline appears to be on the horizon. “Because of the apparent topping out for some of our local industries, the capital equipment market remains mixed, and the bias is still to the down side,” he said. “For the industrial distributors, the summer maintenance schedules have given some firms a slight boost.”
The West Michigan employment picture continues to be a bright spot for the local economy, Long said. Ottawa County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.6 percent, and Kent County tied for third lowest at 2.8 percent. The current Michigan unemployment rate stands at 4.2 percent.
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.”
Brian G. Long, Ph.D, C.P.M., serves as Director of Supply Management research for the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. Dr. Long earned a B.S. and M.B.A. from Central Michigan University, and a Ph.D. in Marketing from Michigan State University. He is also a Certified Purchasing Manager.
For over 28 years, Dr. Long has edited a survey of local purchasing managers for both the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids areas, which has proved to be a major indicator of current and future business conditions. This survey appears in many local newspapers and national business publications, including the Grand Rapids Press, MiBiz, and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. The survey is also a component of the Federal Reserve’s bimonthly survey of business conditions.