West Michigan Economic and Real Estate Forecast: 2018 strong, but recession is looming

Jan 17, 2018

The West Michigan economy looks strong in 2018, but a recession may be coming as early as next year. That’s according to economic experts who presented their findings at the Colliers International West Michigan 2018 Real estate and economic forecast.

“As we go through this year, you should be preparing for wages going up, you should be preparing for the fact that it will be harder to borrow money at the end of the year, then it is at the beginning of the year, and you should be really trying to think about how you can train your way into the jobs that will be here five years from now.”

Dr. Paul Isley is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, and gave the keynote address. 

“Well, here in West Michigan we have a lot of things that are lining up for us," Isley told WGVU after his speech. "The businesses leaders are really, really optimistic. But we are really looking at much faster sales growth then we saw last year, so that is going to be really good for our companies.” 

However, recession may be looming.  However, West Michigan won't be hit as hard as other communities. 

“We’re looking at the probability for a light recession in 19, in might now get pushed to 20 because of the tax law changes but it will be in that time frame.”

Isley says, those tax law changes, in which President Donald Trump said were a “giant tax cut for Christmas” may be less than advertised.

“Well right now, if we look at the midrange people, who are 50-75k a year, were really looking at an extra $500-600 a year in their income for the next five to ten years. That’s something, but its not really going to substantially change their world,” Isley said. 

Meanwhile, while West Michigan wages should increase in 2018, they still rank lower than the national average. Which ultimately could hinder the region’s need to attract professional talent to the area.