West Michigan's September economic survey indicates continued growth but are there bubbles ahead?

Oct 5, 2018

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research at the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University
Credit gvsu.edu

West Michigan’s economy continued its growth pattern in September. While economic times are currently good, the economist who authored the survey is also watching for bubbles that could slow future growth.

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research at the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. He explains it’s the tax cuts that are moving the U.S. economy, and the local economy, in a positive direction.

“Even the office furniture business, which had kind of plateaued about a year ago, seems to have found a new life largely because of the tax legislation that was passed last year.”

That legislation continues to benefit local capital equipment makers.

“Automotive has continued to be our stalwart as far as West Michigan is concerned. And even though auto sales off, our local firms continue to do very well.”

Taken together, September was a strong month for the West Michigan economy. Still, there is uncertainty about trade talks and tariffs and how those issues could limit future economic growth?

“What we see right now are a lot of these mini-bubbles starting to grow; firms overextending themselves, expansions that can’t be viable. We haven’t yet identified what the major bubble might be though that could take us into this next recession.”

Mini-bubbles the 70 purchasing managers surveyed will be watching closely in the coming months.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.