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West Michigan economy remains positive, backtracks in August

The West Michigan economy, while still positive, backtracked a bit in August. That’s the finding for the August Supply Management Research survey. Its author attributes it to the “summer doldrums.”

“The business for this month slowed to a moderate pace compared to the more upbeat pace we had had for the last three months or so.” Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business. He explains this is the time of year when business owners shy away from major decision making until after Labor Day. He says there’s no cause for alarm. “Our numbers are still positive but we’re back to single-digit positive instead of double-digit positive."

While Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo area purchasing managers are positive about new orders, those involved with office furniture say the market is “somewhat saturated” and a softening of auto sales is being to impact local suppliers.

“Those companies that are supplying the compact cars, the fuel efficient cars, have found that those cars just plain aren’t selling right now. What’s selling is the SUVs, trucks, crossovers, the less fuel efficient vehicles.”

Long also indicates he’s seeing a bit of a slowdown in hiring but the region continues to enjoy a low unemployment rate.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.