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July survey: west and southwest Michigan economy is flattening

By and large, area manufacturers reported in July that they're holding their own but are turning pessimistic, limiting future expansion and hiring. Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University, says fundamental economic statistics indicate weakening from June to July.

"Hence, there remains an 80% chance, or so, that we may well start a recession over the next six months or so."

Long suggests fundamentals are favorable for the state should that happen.

"No recession in recent memory has had an equal impact on all firms and industries, so even if we do slide into a recession, Michigan is apt to fare better than the rest of the nation because of the huge backlog demand for new cars."

Long explained economists are keeping an eye on big ticket industrial commodities, including oil, that are dropping in price. An across-the-board commodity drop often foreshadows a recession.