GRAND RAPIDS –  West Michigan’s recovery from the Great Recession began 10 years ago this month and it continues at the same slow pace since 2009,  says a Grand Valley State University economist.

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business,  surveyed local business leaders and his findings below are based on data collected during the last two weeks of March.

The survey’s index of business improvement (new orders) remained virtually unchanged at +17, up from +16. The production index retreated to +5 from +16. The index of purchases waned to +4 from +16, and the employment index declined slightly to +15 from +17.

Business confidence rebounded in February after posting near-record lows in January, Long said, but March saw that optimism fade. 

“Short-term confidence for March slipped for a number of reasons — no resolution to the Chinese trade war, Brexit, the softening world economy and retreating monthly auto sales,” said Long.

The long-term business outlook (perception for the next three-to-five years), remained steady at +28, up marginally from February’s +27. 

Long added that auto sales are continuing to fall as predicted, but West Michigan auto parts producers are not feeling pinched. “Just as it has been for many months, the decline in auto sales has been very orderly, so far,” he said.