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August Survey: A mood of economic uncertainty

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Brian G. Long of the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University explains the results from August’s Institute for Supply Management Research survey

The 45 west and southwest Michigan purchasing managers surveyed by the Institute for Supply Management Research in August suggests a mixed bag of economic indicators is providing a murky outlook.

“The mood of our survey, respondents continues to be iffy. Some are expecting a slowdown and some are bracing for a potential recession, and some are simply taking it one day at a time.”

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. While there are indicators the local economy is beginning to slow, demand for cars and trucks and locally produced parts is propping it up. And at a time when the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates attempting to tame inflation, the labor market remains strong.

“According to what we call headline unemployment, Michigan's rate has fallen to 4.2%, but most of our West Michigan statistics are beating the state averages, such as the unemployment rate for Ottawa County came in at 3.4%, Kent County, 3.8% and Barry County 3.9%.“

Should the economy continue to cool, Long explains, “employment and unemployment are laggard statistics.” He suggests it could be a couple of months into a recession before layoffs become significant.

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.
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