Grand Valley economist sees slowing of West Michigan economy

Posted at 1:52 PM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-04 13:52:53-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – While it seems like many aspects of the economy are booming, the stock market passing 22,000 and unemployment falling to 4.3%, a West Michigan economist says things may be slowing down locally.

Brian Long, the director of Supply Management Research at the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University says that after several months of disappointing car sales, local auto parts suppliers are starting to feel a pinch.

“For the sixth straight month, auto sales for July are lower,” said Long in a press release. “The 6.9 percent drop is the largest so far this year, although most of the decline came from a 15 percent drop in the sale of sedans (regular cars) verses a 1.9 percent drop in light trucks and SUVs.”

Long says his findings come from surveys that he made of local business leaders during the last two weeks of July.  He says some auto suppliers have been forced to cut production due to slow auto sales.

In other industries, Long says the local office furniture industry is still stable and the West Michigan tourism industry is poised to have a record positive year.  The local agricultural outlook for 2017 is also good.