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West Michigan economy remains positive but tariffs have business leaders concerned

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

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The G7 Summit has wrapped up and there’s talk of a tariff war. How is this impacting the West Michigan economy?

The Institute for Supply Management survey for the month of May indicates the pace of the local economy has picked up despite the uncertainty.

U.S. Steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico have put the North American Free Trade agreement in jeopardy and the European Union is countering with tariffs of its own. How is this impacting the West Michigan economy?

It may be too early to tell. The May Supply Management Research survey indicates the capital equipment rally continues with local manufacturers benefiting. Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business, he says tax reform is a major reason.

While the Office Furniture industry remains steady, Long continues monitoring trends in the state’s auto industry. “The auto industry as a whole has slowed but our local companies generally have not slowed. Part of it is a case that we are the lowest, total cost producers as far as some parts are concerned.”

While conditions are good, the May survey indicates business leaders are uncertain about the future.

“There is really no explanation as to why our index of confidence for the next three to five years has dipped to the level that it has right now. Except to say that the geopolitical situation is in turmoil and secondly, there are many people starting to talk about that we are due for a recession.”

Each month the Institute for Supply Management surveys 70 purchasing managers in greater Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. 

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.