The west Michigan industrial economy is starting to pick up. The monthly survey by Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business finds April's index of new business orders and production are on the increase.

The greater Grand Rapids industrial economy experienced stronger growth in April, according to the results of a monthly survey compiled by Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research at GVSU.

The survey results are based on data collected during the last two weeks of April.

The survey’s index of business improvement, called new orders, bounced to +40, up from +27. The production index posted a more modest gain, and rose to +28 from +23. The employment index remained in double digit growth but backtracked to +13 from +19. The index of purchases was unchanged at +19.

"Our stronger statistics mean that there are no segments that are doing poorly, although there are exceptions within each group," said Long. "Automotive parts suppliers remain strong, although a couple firms backtracked because of the particular components they were making. The integrated office furniture companies turned in a stronger performance, and smaller firms are also doing well."

Long said the employment numbers for West Michigan continue to be better than the rest of the state. Among the unemployment rates in the 83 Michigan counties, Kent County reported the second lowest in unemployment in the state in April, followed by Ottawa County at number three. Kalamazoo County eased to fifth place. Between February and March, Long said almost all of the counties in West Michigan posted minor improvements in unemployment.