Experts agree we are on the road to recovery nationally, but how is West Michigan’s real estate market faring? In 2003, the Midwest saw manufacturing continue to downsize, causing still more increases in vacancy and unemployment. West Michigan was no exception; unemployment rates surpassed 8 percent, the highest in a decade. The industrial market, which had until recently been the strongest in the area, is now taking a back seat to the retail market. Although the area is starting to show signs of economic improvement, the industrial market may take several years to recover. The office market has remained rather stagnant with little or no increases in significant leasing. Optimism remains the key for 2004.