West Michigan

propane school bus photo

School districts in western Michigan will be replacing old diesel buses with cleaner vehicles.

Three districts and a private school have been awarded $450,000 in federal grants to make the switch, said the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

“Diesel emissions from older buses are not only immediately harmful to Michigan’s children, but they contribute to long-term damage to the environment and climate,” department official Robert Jackson said.

Brian G. Long portrait

The economy is in a recession. However, there are indications in the May Supply Management Research survey that a slow recovery is underway in West Michigan.

The West Michigan economy is slowly reopening after businesses were ordered closed back in March disrupting the spread of coronavirus.

“We’re starting to dig ourselves out of a very deep hole. So, we can’t expect miracles overnight. But it’s gratifying at least to say that we’ve probably reach the bottom and are at least starting to recover.”

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.

Paul Isely, Associate Dean in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University
Grand Valley State University

Numbers from China, South Korea, Japan and Washington state are being used to model the economic change West Michigan will likely experience from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Industries at highest risk and that will be hit the hardest are arts & entertainment, recreation, accommodation, food services and transportation.

“We’re expecting very deep hits on those sectors and that will last for more than a few weeks.”

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University

The December Institute for Supply Management Research survey shows that West Michigan economy remains soft. It’s the result of the now settled General Motors strike.

In late October, the General Motors strike was settled. Auto part suppliers in West Michigan are still feeling the impacts.

“Unfortunately, it isn’t a full recovery yet. Some of the participants in the survey have indicated that the work hasn’t come back as strong as they had hoped for the auto industry.”

Mark Sanchez photo
Courtesy photo / LinkedIn.com

Michigan lawmakers exploring toll roads as a solution to road and bridge funding. Also, a local study takes a closer look at wage growth in West Michigan.

Vice President Mike Pence official portrait
White House

Vice President Mike Pence has scheduled three stops next week in western and southwestern Michigan.

Pence plans to visit Grand Rapids, Portage and Holland on Wednesday, with expected meetings with religious and community leaders.

The former Indiana governor also will attend a campaign rally with Sarah Sanders, President Donald Trump's former spokeswoman. Michigan is one of four swing states - Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida are the others - that could determine the outcome of the 2020 election because their electorates are so evenly divided.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga portrait

A sharply divided House of Representatives has approved the rules for its impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. How did local U.S. Representatives vote?

“This is outside the norm of anything that we have seen regarding impeachment in the past.”

U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga recalls the Nixon and Clinton impeachments drew bipartisan support.

Thursday's near party-line vote broke with a 232-196 roll call. It was the chamber's first formal vote on a process that's likely to take months, possibly stretching into the early weeks of the 2020 election year.

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University

The latest Institute for Supply Management survey indicates the local economy grew at a marginal rate in September.

Throughout the summer months the U.S.-China trade war and its tariffs slowed manufacturing and Brexit have weighed on the minds of local purchasing managers. Factor in the recent United Auto Workers strike with General Motors and it would stand to reason they’d have gloomier outlook in September.

Amway logo
Wikimedia Commons

In 2019, Amway began making changes to how its global Information Technology division will do business. Standardizing work, its contracting with two global vendors. That’s leading to the elimination of domestic and international positions.

Amway employs 16,000 workers worldwide. In all, 171 employees have been laid off this year across the state. That includes 47 this month in West Michigan. With 3,000 employees here, that’s 1% of the local workforce.

Amway says more local jobs will be impacted through 2020.