Yesterday, a Grand Valley State University professor revealed the results of a survey of West Michigan businesses conducted at the end of 2019. The results are mixed.

Paul Isely, professor of economics and associate dean in the Seidman College of Business, announced the results of the survey. The findings are based on the answers given by businesses in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan counties in November and December of 2019.

Projections for 2020 include flat employment growth, weakening sales growth and strengthening export growth.

Isely said weakness in manufacturing has become the biggest issue in for West Michigan's economy. He said some measures indicate a "mild recession" and 2020 "will likely continue a measured slowdown" for West Michigan manufacturing and the corresponding transportation sectors.

Nationally, the number of manufacturing workers has increased, but the hours that they work has decreased.

Exports have traditionally been a strength for West Michigan's economy, but recent growth has been weak. Exports are expected to improve slightly in 2020.

Isely also said this year's presidential election leaves some uncertainty for the economy and businesses trying to plan ahead.

The West Michigan economic survey was conducted by Isely, along with staff members from the West Michigan Regional Small Business Development Center in the Seidman College of Business.

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