West Michigan economy flattens as GVSU expert predicts ‘shallow recession’ ahead

West Michigan’s economy appears to have flattened, but has not yet entered a recession, according to the latest monthly survey data released by Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business.

The September Purchasing Managers Survey conducted by Brian Long, director of supply chain research at GVSU, found steady demand among automotive suppliers offsetting more negative news about orders from sectors such as automotive. office furniture industry.

“Among our cyclical industries in West Michigan, our auto parts producers continue to stay fairly busy, but not so much with our office furniture businesses and all things capital goods where markets are starting to pick up. loosen up – not fall apart – just soften up,” Long says.

Lower commodity prices for goods like metals and plastic resins will take months to trickle down to consumer prices, while energy costs could offset lower costs in some areas, a- he declared.


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For the survey, published on October 10, the sales/new orders index remained stable in September after falling into negative territory in July and August.
Production levels also remained stable, with the majority of survey respondents saying production was the same as in August.

Long says he’s about 80% certain the region is sliding into a “shallow recession,” based on national trends and feedback he’s hearing from industrial employers in the region.

“The confidence situation has clearly deteriorated the short-term trade outlook index for September,” he said. “However, the long-term business outlook, which questions perceptions for the next three to five years, still remains positive, although not as strong as six months ago.”