April 24, 2014
2:20 pm

Michigan Moving in the Right Direction

The men and women who comprise small- and mid-sized businesses in Michigan generally concur that the state economy has "turned the corner and is moving in the right direction."  That's the over-arching contention from the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America based in Lansing. The conclusions arrive just ahead of Christmas from the latest Michigan Future Business Index survey completed last month.

Accident Fund figures released this week show that business owners have seen added growth in their businesses across the state over the past six months and are planning to make investments in their workforce through increased wages and training.

Mike Britt is the President of Accident Fund Insurance, and he says, "Many of our customers are small- and mid-sized businesses so it is encouraging to see that Michigan businesses are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We would like nothing better than to see Michigan businesses grow and prosper.  A healthy business climate in Michigan is good for all of us."

According to the report from Accident Fund, while they see continued optimism regarding future sales and opportunities for growing businesses within their market, their confidence in maintaining a strong bottom line has slightly weakened. The data indicates that one of the dark clouds casting a shadow on this optimism is the Affordable Care Act.  It is now seen as the top challenge to doing business in Michigan and has forced business leaders to further modify their employee health care plans to comply with new regulations and limit operating cost overruns.  Ultimately, this means that employees will take on more financial responsibility with their health care coverage.

Overall, 2013 has been a very positive year in terms of how the Michigan business community views the state economy.  Throughout the year, a majority of respondents to the Future Business Index survey have said that they are satisfied with the direction of the state economy.  That is the first time in the history of the semi-annual survey that satisfaction outgained dissatisfaction over two consecutive surveys.

The satisfaction trend line has reflected a consistent upward climb since January of 2010.  The percentage of businesses with new hires reached a new historical high with this survey, now at 26% saying they have hired more employees over the past six months, up 15 points since October of 2011.  New job opportunities are the most robust here in West Michigan at 33% followed by Metro Detroit at 32%.  

Another positive sign is the 42% of business owners who reported that sales have increased over the previous six month period.  

The Michigan Future Business Index, commissioned by Accident Fund and the Michigan Business Network, is conducted semi-annually by PhoenixInnovate.  The survey has been conducted since 2006.

A total of 933 Michigan business owners, operators, officers and managers were interviewed for the November 2013 survey.  

You can find the complete report right now by clicking this link:
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Topics : Business_FinanceLabor
People : Mike Britt
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