NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Institute for Supply Management September survey finds flat outlook

Patrick Center

West Michigan’s economic outlook turned to “flat” in the September Institute for Supply Management Survey. The chances for a recession are also increasing, but to what degree?

The August Institute for Supply Management Research survey suggested a mixed bag of economic indicators provided a murky outlook. September’s survey of 45 west and southwest Michigan purchasing managers brought clarity.

“We have now been surveying purchasing agents for the past 43-years, and by comparison for the month of September, our statistics are flat. Not falling, flat.”

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.

“This means that West Michigan is not in a recession at this time, but I still figure 80% odds that we will slide into a shallow recession. But if the pent-up demand for the auto industry keeps going like it is, and our auto parts producers keeps busy, West Michigan may fair better than the rest of the nation going forward.”

The area’s office furniture companies and those relating to capital equipment are experiencing a slowdown as markets soften.

Long explains industrial firms are pumping the brakes on hiring.

“Seventeen percent of this month’s respondents indicated that they are now laying off. Now, this isn’t a stampede, but it does indicate the job market is beginning to get a little less robust.”

Long says there will be a lag before government data picks up on labor weakness.