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West Michigan economy reaches January peak

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The West Michigan economy took a positive leap in January. Is it the beginning of the end of the pandemic-induced recession?

New orders, production, purchases and employment indexes all rose dramatically in January.

“This doesn’t necessarily indicate that this trend is going to continue.”

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business.

“I call it a peak. And what it means is from here we’re probably going to back off a little bit and continue on the path that we’re on right now as far as the recovery.”

Long points to pent up demand as the driving force. But not all businesses are so fortunate. He says that by summer the permanent damage to the local economy will be revealed.

“As we progress we will start to see the jobs that we have permanently lost as a result of this recession, and that includes the jobs that we’ve lost in the industrial market.”

As for President Biden’s executive orders aimed at supporting an economic recovery, Long says they’ve yet to impact the local cyclical industries.

“In other words, we didn’t see much of anything that related to our auto parts suppliers or to the office furniture business.”

However, if congress passes the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, and it includes stimulus for the airline industry, that will provide long-term relief to the area’s aerospace firms.