Auto-related and furniture manufacturing industries are the mainstays of the Central West Michigan economy. Healthcare, biotechnology, higher education, and high-tech industries also contribute tremendously to the region’s economy. Out of more than 82,700 manufacturing jobs created in the state of Michigan since January 2009, about 14.7 percent of those jobs were created in the Central West Michigan region .
Payroll job growth is moderating in the region after a surge of 2.63 percent (year-over-year) in 2012Q2. Year-over-year payroll job growth of 2.0 percent in October was well above the national average of 1.7 percent. The unemployment rate of 7.2 percent was slightly lower than the national average of 7.3 percent in Q3. The unemployment rate is expected to decline more slowly than the national average trend, mainly because of the moderate prospect of job growth down the road. Both single and multifamily housing starts grew stronger in 2013Q2 after a significant decline in Q1. We expect that the total housing starts will continue to increase thorough 2014. Similarly, house prices continued to increase in Q3. Year-over-year growth of house prices of 5.2 percent was well below the national average of 8.4 percent for the quarter. The below-average trend in house price growth is expected to continue through 2014, consistent with moderate income growth.
The U.S. outlook for office furniture production is encouraging for 2014. Office construction is expected to increase in 2014 as overall economic conditions improve. U.S. auto sales are also expected to improve in 2014, to a 16.6 million unit sales rate, up from approximately 15.7 million units in 2013.
Click here for the complete Central West Michigan Regional Economic Update: CentralWestMI 2013Q3.