GVSU economist predicts slower growth for upcoming year

Posted at 8:59 AM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-26 18:55:30-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Valley State University professor of economics and associate dean in the Seidman College of Business Paul Isely is offering his predictions for the West Michigan economy for 2017.

Isely made his remarks Thursday morning at DeVos Place at the 2017 Colliers Annual West Michigan Economic and Commercial Real Estate Forecast.

Isely says that West Michigan's economy will continue to grow in 2017, but at a slower pace than recent years. He says that employment growth has been running at between 3 and 5 percent in recent years, but that will slow to only about 2 percent for 2017.  He said that the local economy is still challenged with a need for skilled labors and recent growth in local auto and furniture manufacturing is hitting a plateau.

Isely says sales growth will improve to about 3 percent. But he added, "Business leaders said while they see sales going up this year, they will need fewer workers to handle it."

And Isely says that the growth won't continue indefinitely.  He predicts the next recession to hit in two to three years.