Researchers at Grand Valley State University say the economic growth rate in West Michigan has slowed and returned to normal.

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, surveyed local business leaders during the last two weeks of July.

Long said the West Michigan economy remains on a solid footing, but the growth rate has tapered off because the summer months are often slower for local industries. "The six-year pattern of slow growth continues on track, although we have had a few minor adjustments along the way," said Long. "The late summer economy for West Michigan should remain in the slow growth paradigm."

Long said local auto parts producers and the office furniture industry are still near full capacity and reporting business conditions to be stable or expanding. He said the summer pattern for industrial distributors remains mixed. Capital equipment firms are generally flat compared to a few months ago. He added that with the fall in oil and commodity prices, firms tied to those industries are having some difficulties.

The Institute for Supply Management survey is a monthly survey of business conditions that 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.