West Michigan ISM Forecasts Slower Growth

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The downtown Grand Rapids skyline. WWJ file photo.

The downtown Grand Rapids skyline. WWJ file photo.

GRAND RAPIDS — The West Michigan industrial economy is experiencing slower 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 June.

The survey’s index of business improvement, called new orders, remained positive at +9 but was lower than last month’s +20. The production index remained virtually unchanged at +6, up from +5 and because of seasonal hiring, the employment index rose to +25, up from +12.

“Overall, our current statistics are still positive, but less robust than what we would like to see,” said Long. “Even though the local economy is still growing, the future is starting to look far less certain than it did a few months ago.”   Long said the local numbers would now be negative if it were not for automotive.

“Strong auto sales are still keeping the assembly line humming and our local automotive parts producers at high levels of output,” he said. “So far, the production schedules for most of the North American firms are positive.”

Long added that a mood of caution throughout corporate America has resulted in the office furniture business continuing to soften.

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 www.gvsu.edu/scblogistics.

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