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West Michigan economy is in bad shape, but not the worst ever recorded by Supply Management Research

Brian G. Long portrait

The West Michigan economy is in a recession. How bad is it? WGVU spoke with the author of the April Supply Management Research survey.

“We expected to have the worst results in the history of the survey.”

A survey created more than 40-years ago by Brian Long, Director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.

In the April survey of area purchasing managers, new orders came in at -45. That’s not good, but the record low is -57 set in 2008 during the Great Recession.

“Now, that doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily going to bounce back next month, but it’s good to see that we have at least come of our enterprises operating in this state and that we are not apparently headed into as bad of a recession as we were thinking.”

Long says west Michigan’s “cyclical” industries; office furniture, aerospace, capital equipment and auto parts producers will suffer greatly. How much is unknown.

Face-to-face consumer segments of the economy like retail, entertainment venues, brew pubs and restaurants are hurt the most with social distancing impacting the business model.

“What I really expect is that when these restaurants do reopen we’re literally going to be looking at price increases because they’re not going to be able to handle as many people in the same space as they did before.”

Long adds that “As the economy slowly reopens, we will be closely monitoring the confidence levels of both retail and industrial consumers.”

I’m Patrick Center.

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