Seidman College of Business

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.

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West Michigan’s economy wrapped up 2017 with what is described as “solid growth” in December. WGVU takes a look at the number from last month’s Supply Management Research survey. The trajectory gives its author a good idea of what the local economy may bring in 2018.

“The general feeling is we could hit 3.5 percent growth rate as far as the year 2018 is concerned.”

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.

“This will be our best year if this in turn comes to pass.”

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As 2017 comes to a close, November’s Supply Management Research survey suggests West Michigan’s economy will be strong in 2018.

“It’s quite possible that 2018 will be one of our best years in the previous 10 years.”

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. He says West Michigan’s economic trajectory heading into December and beyond is full steam ahead.

Photo Credit: Rex Larsen

Grand Rapids’ West Side is experiencing a renaissance that began 16 years ago. Grand Valley State University’s Seidman Alumni Association hosted an event called “West Side Story” with speakers explaining the transformation of its neighborhoods and business districts.

“We’re open for business. I think the West Side for too many years has had West Siders trading dollars with each other.”

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The most recent Supply Management Research survey indicates the West Michigan’s economy is experiencing slower growth.

“This month we had a sharper drop in auto sales than we’ve had in any of the previous months this year.” That’s Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.

He explains July marked the sixth straight month auto sales have been down year over year. “That means that we are reaching that level of saturation that we all knew we were going to meet eventually.”

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West Michigan’s economy continued its steady growth into June. WGVU breaks down the data points highlighted in the most recent Supply Management Research survey.

What continues to be the strength of the Supply Management Research survey is the regions low unemployment.

About 45 high school students from throughout West Michigan will spend a week at Grand Valley State University.  They’ll be immersed in the world of entrepreneurship and will learn about creating a start-up company.  The Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy is in its 11th year and this year they’ve even got evidence of the camp’s success.

“We had a lot of success with the program and see impact it’s having on their education, careers and that’s why we keep trying to grow it and allow more kids to participate.”

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West Michigan’s economy continued to outperform during the month of May. WGVU breaks down the latest Supply Management Research survey.

The employment rate across much of West Michigan is a clear sign of economic strength.

“When we have Ottawa County at 2.1 percent unemployment and all of Kent County at 2.4 percent unemployment we have to conclude that the employment situation has improved and the unemployment situation is much, much better than it was at the peak of this recession.”

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West Michigan’s economy remains strong after two months of double-digit growth. But there are signs the Trump rally may be slowing. WGVU breaks down the latest Supply Management Research survey.

“We are at a two year high right now.” In particular, the Supply Management Research index for employment and new orders. “But we can’t expect that to continue. We have some industries in our area, namely automotive and office furniture that are at or near their two year highs themselves. As a result, we look forward to some slackening as far as the industry is concerned.”

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park annually generates more than $75 million in Kent County. WGVU breaks down the economic impact study with one of its authors from Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business.

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