West Michigan Economy


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.”

Mark Sanchez
Courtesy photo / LinkedIn.com

MiBiz senior writer, Mark Sanchez, talks with area business leaders discussing their views on what lies ahead for the West Michigan economy in 2018.


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.


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.


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.”


It’s a “back to work” attitude for the west Michigan economy following the December holiday season.

The January Supply Management Research Report has been released and all signs point to growth. But has the local economy maxed out?

“Most of the industries that we are surveying right now are optimistic to the point that things are going OK.”

That’s what business leaders are telling Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.

Monthly guests from the Seidman College of Business join us. Today's conversation is with Brian Long, director of Supply Management Research at the College.

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Michigan's jobless rate dipped to 4.5 percent in July, a slight drop from the previous month and lowest in 15 years.

The state said Wednesday it's the lowest rate since January 2001's 4.4 percent, but officials say it corresponds with a significant drop in labor force and employment levels.

Total employment fell by 20,000, while the number of unemployed fell by 8,000.

The Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives says Michigan's unemployment rate has incrementally dropped this year, following a mostly decreasing trend since July 2009.


The Pew Research Center defines the Millenial generation as those born between the years of 1980 and 2000. This group is said to make up more than 40 percent of the workforce – a number that will only increase over the next decade.

Ken Miguel-Cipriano is a local resident, Peruvian immigrant and graduate of the University of Michigan. He graduated in debt and juggled a number of jobs – in a number of locations – before getting to a sense of stability.

Dave Dugdale via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / wikimedia.org

Yesterday, WGVU took a look at a new labor rule raising overtime eligibility for certain salaried employees. Today, we explore that rule’s potential impact on employees and employers.

“It can potentially mean a pretty good wage increase for quite a few number of people – and that’s really the motivation for the change in the regulation.”

Paul Sicilian is an economics professor at Grand Valley State University, with an emphasis on labor standards.