Owners of Michigan’s small and medium-size businesses voiced their confidence in Michigan’s economic future in the latest Future Business Index, published in partnership with the Michigan Business Network and Lansing, Mich.-based Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, the insurer announced.
The optimism of the survey is a positive sign for Michigan workers and for those looking for employment, and indicates business leaders are demonstrating their confidence by raising wages and hiring, the company said.
“This year’s survey results build on the significant optimism established last year and reinforce Michigan’s journey toward economic recovery,” said Mike Britt, president of Accident Fund, said in the survey announcement. “It’s exciting to see how small businesses in our state are continuing to find innovative ways to be a driving force for growth.”
Data from the survey show that business leaders are generally happy with Michigan as a market for their goods and services; 17 percent of respondents said they see the opportunities for business growth.
Many respondents –11 percent of the sample — said they see signs of the economy improving, according to the survey.
Another primary reason business leaders are optimistic about the future is because of the quality of their staff. One respondent said his firm has “bright innovative people to power our future.”
The June 2014 MFBI reveals the steepest increase yet in optimistic expectations for sales and profits over the next six months. Sixty-two (62) percent of respondents expect sales to increase in the next six months. That’s up 14 points from the November 2013 survey results.
There was also a 14-point jump in the number of people who expect profits to increase — from 36 percent in November to 50 percent today.
The number of respondents planning to hire additional employees in the next six months rose to 37 percent, a new record and an eight-point change from November 2013. This continues the considerable upward trend from the lowest point – 13 percent, in January 2010, the survey found.
New job opportunities are most abundant in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, according to the Index — where 47 percent of respondents plan to hire new employees.
Indications of hiring were strong in all regions, with the exception of Flint, Bay City and Saginaw, where only 21 percent of businesses plan to make new hires.
Only 6 percent of respondents expect layoffs in the next six months, a new low for the history of the MFBI study.
The demand for skilled workers is highest in the insurance and financial sectors (48 percent) and manufacturing and construction sectors (45 percent ), the survey found.
While the survey reflects positive signs for Michigan’s economy, concerns remain regarding the challenges of retaining skilled employees and the unknown impact of the Affordable Care Act on the individual bottom lines of businesses.
“Michigan businesses have once again demonstrated their resilience in overcoming tough economic challenges to keep our state moving forward,” said Chris Holman, CEO of the Michigan Business Network. “These businesses are the backbone of Michigan’s economic growth and progress, and I am proud of their commitment to building a strong future.”
The semi-annual Michigan Future Business Index has been commissioned by Accident Fund and the Michigan Business Network since 2006 and is conducted by the Michigan-based marketing services and survey research firm, Phoenix Innovate. A total of 611 Michigan business owners and C-suite executives were interviewed for the June 2014 survey.
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