Patrick Center February 5, 2014 | WGVU It’s been a while since West Michigan movers and shakers have been able to say the economy is healthy. The recovery from the Great Recession has been slow but steady. Dr. Paul Isely is professor and interim associate dean of economics at Grand Valley’s Seidman College of Business. He surveyed the mood, the level of confidence, in the Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan economies. His confidence index came in at 70 percent. It’s the highest it’s been since 2000.
“The 1990’s were an aberration. Everything was firing on cylinders perfectly. And to finally have a number that was approaching those numbers that we had in the 1990’s is really significant.”
When confidence goes up businesses hire new worker. Isely expects employment to grow by 2.7 to 3.1 percent this year.
“We’re going to see some pretty broad-based growth and that growth is probably going to stay in the business serves and service sectors more than anything else. We’re going to continue to see strength in health care and manufacturing but they’ve had a pretty good run. We’re not going to see a lot of growth there this year.”
Isely is forecasting overall sales to increase by 2.4 to 2.8 percent with exports from area business to grow between 8 and 9.2 percent in 2014.
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