Paul Isely, professor and chair of economics for GVSU’s Seidman College of Business, revealed the findings of the benchmark survey of the regional economy at the Colliers Annual Economic and Real Estate Forecast on Friday.
The survey of the greater Grand Rapids economy (Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan counties) was conducted in November 2012.
Isely said 2013 will be much like 2012 with relatively slow growth.
“The growth we are experiencing is sustainable, but the government is creating uncertainty,” he said. “People are uncertain about health care, taxes and federal spending. Until that changes, growth will continue to be slow.”
Isely said consumer confidence is improving and will remain above 60 percent, but it hasn’t translated into more purchases yet.
He also said local employers will be hiring in 2013, but will be looking for skilled labor. He said more than half, about 56 percent, of employers surveyed said they plan to hire in 2013 and more than half of those jobs will be permanent workers. He said the demand for specialized skills jobs will require significant training.
Overall findings for 2013:
• 2% employment growth
• 2.5% sales growth
• 5.4% increase in exports