GRAND RAPIDS – The West Michigan economy is going strong and the trend should continue, according to a Grand Valley State University expert.
Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business, surveyed local business leaders and his findings below are based on data collected during the last two weeks of September.
The survey’s index of business improvement (new orders) came in at +21, above last month’s +19. The production index eased to +17 from +20. The index of purchases slowed to +14 from +24, and the employment index remained positive at +17, up from +21.
Long said for auto sales, the September report reversed the negative pattern of the past six months.
“Most auto parts suppliers have been concerned throughout the summer about the slower auto sales, so the September bounce in sales seems to have forestalled any immediate fear of an automotive recession lurking around the corner,” said Long. “The major office furniture firms still appear to be topping out at the present level, but the smaller firms are having a little more success.”
Business optimism is strong in West Michigan and the economy for the rest of the world continues to improve, Long said.
“Canada and Mexico, our two largest trading partners, turned in strong reports for September,” he said. “Whereas most of the major economies were improving over the summer, growth in September slowed in China, Japan and the UK.”
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. It is patterned after a nationwide survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management. Each month, the respondents are asked to rate eight factors as “same,” “up” or “down.”