West Michigan Economy Flat, Expected to Rebound
The West Michigan economy is currently flat, but should rebound through the summer, according to a Grand Valley State University economist.
Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business, surveyed local business leaders during the last two weeks of May.
Reports are mixed.
Long said local auto parts suppliers are operating at full capacity and some smaller office furniture businesses are setting records. He said West Michigan is still outpacing most of the rest of the state with unemployment numbers.
"Michigan still claims to have about 80,000 technical jobs that cannot be filled because of a lack of qualified applicants," said Long. "Even for unskilled jobs, some employers offering as much as $13 per hour are still having difficulty finding new employees."
"The Ottawa County unemployment rate fell to 2.7 percent, the lowest in the state, while Kent County is at 2.9 percent. Kalamazoo County posted an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent," Long said.
The monthly survey includes 45 purchasing managers in the greater Grand Rapids area and 25 in Kalamazoo. The respondents are from the region's major industrial manufacturers, distributors and industrial service organizations.