GRAND RAPIDS – There are no signs of an impending recession, but the West Michigan economy will continue to slow in 2020, said Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business.
Long surveyed local business leaders and his findings below are based on data collected during the last two weeks of November.
The survey’s index of business improvement (new orders) came in at -10, up significantly from -21 in October. The production index is negative, but recovered to -9 from -34. The index of purchases recuperated to -18 from -21, and the employment index came in at -9 from -14.
Looking to 2020, Long said there is no evidence of the overall economy sliding into a recession, but there’s plenty of evidence to indicate a slowing for the industrial economy.
“Part of it has to do with the ongoing trade war with China and the soft business conditions around the world,” Long said.
All three local cyclical industries — office furniture, aerospace and automotive — have more than topped out, Long said, while some segments of the West Michigan agricultural industry, namely corn, soybeans and cherries, have had a marginal year.
Local employment numbers continue to set records. “Ottawa County posted the lowest unemployment rate of 2.3 percent,” Long said. “Of the major cities in Michigan, the Grand Rapids report of 3.3 percent unemployment is the envy of most other major cities in the state.”
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.