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West Michigan’s manufacturing economic survey turned from "flat" in July to "modestly negative" in August

Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University photo
Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University

Interest rates and potential UAW strike weigh on August Institute for Supply Management Research Survey

There’s a trend developing. In June, local purchasing managers described the local manufacturing economy as “steady.” In July, it turned “flat.” More recently…

“Our local economic survey for the month of August is modestly negative. And so far, the economy has been easing in a fairly orderly manner, much like the Federal Reserve had hoped.”

Raising interest rates to tame inflation which has been declining and now stuck at 3%. The Fed’s target is 2%. Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University describes current conditions.

“Our key cyclical industries in West Michigan are automotive, office furniture and, to a lesser degree, aerospace. Aerospace is doing fine, and office furniture is a little on the soft side, but not collapsing. Automotive is doing OK in advance of what appears to be an almost certain strike. Even then, I think the strike will slow the West Michigan economy somewhat, but not collapse it.”

The August survey suggests employment remains healthy, but Long referred back to July when staff reductions were up 6%. He anticipates the unemployment rate will continue rising over the next few weeks.

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.