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West Michigan slow economic growth persists

Slow growth continues to be the pace of  West Michigan economic expansion. WGVU takes a look at the numbers from November’s Supply Management Research survey.

The West Michigan economy is doing better than the rest of the state. It’s still growing, but slowing to a crawl. Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business tells us auto parts suppliers, office furniture makers and aerospace are the stabilizing industries. 

“We have a number of firms that are able to compete successfully on a worldwide basis with many of the good firms in, not only China and the Far East, but also in the United States.”

Long says for the first time in three years, there’s a worldwide economic slowdown in place, but one that has yet to impact the West Michigan economy.

The evidence is the employment index spiking in November.

“When we get to near full employment and when you start to see those signs popping up, ‘Help Wanted,’ it’s a pretty good indication that not only are the jobs becoming more plentiful, but the wages are almost automatically are going to start to at long last move up.”

How long will it last? Long says economists will be keeping a close eye on January employment data, calling it a back-to-work month.

“If January goes will for us it’s probably an indication that February, March and April will be good months as well.”

Economists will be monitoring the strong U.S. dollar and falling exports hampering U.S. economic growth along with continued terrorist threats.