West Michigan economy in April continued slow growth

May 6, 2016

Brian G. Long, Dir. of Supply Management Research, Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University

The West Michigan economy continued its slow growth pattern in April.

West Michigan industry remains stable and positive. Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business has released his April survey indicating, and as he puts it, the local economy is “Still rising.”

“If we had to look forward to the summer we would have took at what the auto industry is doing and what the office furniture industry is doing and both of these industries are doing very well.”

Overall, purchasing managers surveyed in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo are positive about the long and short-term outlook boding well for the local workforce.

In Kent County alone, unemployment was 11.9 percent at the height of the recession. It had dropped to 4.0 percent last year at this time, now dipping to 3.3 percent.          

“The February, March and April numbers came back to double-digit positive. Now, over the long-term that has a huge impact on our local unemployment numbers which are already really quite good.”

Long concludes, “Right now, it appears that the U.S. economy is going sideways, and that the slow growth we have seen for the last seven years may get even slower. Locally, as long as auto sales and office furniture sales remain strong, West Michigan should continue to outpace the overall U.S. economy, but there is no prospect for faster growth."

Patrick Center, WGVU News.