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West Michigan economy returns to slow growth pattern in February

Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University photo

The West Michigan economy got off to a slow start in the New Year with January figures considered flat. In February, the trend returned to the decade-long pattern of slow growth since the recovery began from the Great Recession. WGVU looks at the data from the most recent Supply Management Research survey.

Following an uninspiring January, Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research at the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, explains the West Michigan economy showed a rebound.

“Last month we hit a record low for both the short term and the long term optimism and we are pleased this month to see that both of these indices responded well and have recovered.”

Long continues to monitor the automotive industry where publication Automotive News reports sales dropped 2.9 percent in February. That has some local auto parts producers turning modestly pessimistic for 2019. Still Long doesn’t see any significant weakening among local parts suppliers. In general for local industries the economy remains on fairly solid footing. 

“It’s positive from the standpoint that we are having enough momentum rolling forward here to carry us well into the summer and probably for the rest of the year.”

Employment remains strong. Still, the headwinds remain with surveyed purchasing managers listing Brexit and U.S. trade war with China impacting domestic businesses.

“The world economy is continuing to slow. In fact, the purchasing manager’s index in Europe went negative for the first time in six years.”

While there’s been talk about an impending recession, Long says he has yet to identify an event that could trigger one.

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.