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Survey showed West Michigan’s manufacturing sector continued to slow into November

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

Director of Supply Management Research tracking employment trend for signs of weakness.

In November, the West Michigan economy plodded along with some modest gains. Geopolitical uncertainties – including two wars and threats of domestic terrorism – along with two years of high interest rates are on the minds of surveyed purchasing managers.

“We simply can’t rule out a 2024 recession sometime during the year.”

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. He says the potential for the Federal Reserve’s so-called “soft landing” remains a possibility. Still, he’s closely monitoring West Michigan employment trends.

“Unemployment is a classic laggard statistic, so it's no surprise that our employment situation in West Michigan remains relatively stable at this time. However, the employment segment of our local industrial survey has turned negative for the second successive month, and 20% of this month's survey respondents reported workforce reductions. So, the laggard effect of the unofficial unemployment statistics probably won't show up for another two or three months.”

Strengths can be found with jobs connected to the automotive industry. With the UAW strike now over, there’s pent-up consumer demand driving manufacturing and sales.

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.