Huntington National Bank’s West Michigan president, John Irwin, sees more certainty and confidence in the marketplace following the November presidential election. He expects West Michigan’s economy to continue rolling along in 2017. According to Irwin, among business leaders he speaks with, “everyone’s hopeful about the future and what’s going to happen here with this administration” of President-elect Donald Trump and the potential for lower business taxes. They’re also bullish on the prospects to roll back federal regulations on business. Irwin also doubts that higher interest rates will alter the course of the economy.
"I think we’re going to continue to see growth and expansion. You talk to the companies that are located here, they’re optimistic about next year and what that means. The real issue I hear from business owners is the talent pool. We have a 3 percent unemployment rate. Getting people to fill jobs, whether it’s in the skilled trades or manufacturing, that is a problem and that impacts companies’ ability to expand in the future, especially in West Michigan. … Everyone talks about the impact of rising rates on the economy, but the Fed raised it because they think the economy is going to be strong enough to sustain it, and the economists that I’ve read think there’s a lot of movement in rates upward without any stifling effect on the economy. Rates have been artificially low for years and years and years, and a 25-percent, 50-percent, even a 100-percent increase in rates isn’t going to detract at these low levels from the capital investments that people are going to make." - John Irwin, West Michigan President, Huntington Bank