While optimism for the U.S. economy remains relatively high, many economists and industry watchers are forecasting a period of slow growth in West Michigan’s manufacturing sector.
Aerospace suppliers are turning bullish on military contracts ahead of what many see as a surge in defense spending, despite the sector taking a backseat in recent years to the commercial aircraft industry.
Gavin Brown, the executive director of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA), expects strong production of both commercial and military aircraft continuing into 2017. As demand for long-range aircraft like the Boeing 777 increases, large OEMs will be eying ways to cut costs through production. For West Michigan manufacturers, that presents an opportunity for companies that can adapt to the latest technology and work cost-cutting measures into production, Brown said. However, uncertainty over the trade policies for the incoming presidential administration could cause pain for companies such as Boeing, which plans to sell more aircraft to countries including Iran and Russia. Brown spoke with MiBiz regarding the opportunities and challenges for aerospace suppliers going into 2017.
KALAMAZOO — The U.S. Air Force could rely on satellites designed by Western Michigan University students to diagnose issues with high-tech propulsion systems in space.
BATTLE CREEK — Concerns over national security could spark wider access to a $100 billion industry for West Michigan manufacturers.
Manufacturing industry groups are tracking a number of key policy issues this year that could have a variety of implications on their West Michigan members.
WALKER — As industrial production levels continue to rise and West Michigan manufacturers reach full capacity, companies need to decide whether to invest in adding capacity or turn to other organizations in the supply chain.