Economics Dept.: Modest Growth Seen In West Michigan

The West Michigan industrial economy continues to experience modest 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 in the last two weeks of December. The survey’s index of business improvement, called new orders, eased slightly to plus 25, down from plus 31. The production index rose higher to plus 29 from plus 19. The index of purchases also rose to plus 29 from plus 29. The employment index rose slightly to plus 29, up from plus 27.

Long said the recovery of the office furniture industry is still on track, stronger auto sales have resulted in more business for local auto parts suppliers, and several local firms are approaching full capacity. He said that in general, performance for industrial distributors remains positive and although capital equipment firms are still recovering, this month’s performance was mixed. Performance for the firms related to the aircraft industry was generally down.         

The Institute for Supply Management survey is a monthly survey of business conditions that includes 45 purchasing managers in the Grand Rapids area and 25 in the Kalamazoo area. The respondents are purchasing managers 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


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