October 23, 2014
2:38 am

Slow Industrial Growth Trend Persists

The latest monthly survey results from a Grand Valley State University strategist are suggesting that the trend toward "slow growth" in the West Michigan industrial economy is likely to continue, "for the foreseeable future."  

Brian Long is the Director of Supply Management Research for the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State Univesity in Grand Rapids.  While his monthly survey largely represents the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo corridor, it is often considered somewhat of a bellweather for most of West Michigan.  His survey of business conditions routinely polls 45 purchasing managers in the greater Grand Rapids community and an additional 25 in and around Kalamazoo.  They represent the region's major industrial manufacturers, distributors and industrial service organizations.  Long patterns his research after a nationwide survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management.  
The index of business improvement, termed "new orders," was "virtually unchanged at +16, up from +15...while the production index remained the same at +13 and the employment index resumed its pattern of modest growth and rose to +9 from +0."  

Long recently instituted a new set of "outlook statistics" and those numbers are "starting to bounce around a little as attitudes and perceptions shift."  For November, the short-term business outlook index rose significantly to +29 from +17, and the long-term business outlook index advanced to +53 from +46.

In his report, Long says the office furniture firms posted one of the best months of the year, adding, "The recent uptick in office rentals around the country have translasted to the purchase of new, more modern office furniture."  

On another note, Long's report cites a study released this month from an internet-based prersonal finance consumer advocacy group calling themselves NerdWallet which has tabbed three West Michigan cities as among "The Ten Best Places in Michigan for Job Seekers."  Those three, and their rank in the top 10 are:  Kentwood (5)...Wyoming (8)...and Portage (9).  
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