Business Executives Hopeful Over Economy in Metro Detroit

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Business executives in southeastern Michigan are optimistic about the economic outlook for the first quarter of 2014, says a recent report by Oakland University. Overall, the business confidence index was 60.6, with an index above 50 indicating a positive outlook.

Within that index number, business executives are most optimistic about sales and profit expectations, with 66 and 50 percent, respectively, predicting a moderate to strong increase, says John Silberman, professor of economics at Oakland University in Rochester Hills.

“This pretty much describes what’s going on nationally,” Silberman says. “What (local executives) are least positive about is increasing capital expenditures and increasing hiring. And these are the two things that are lagging nationally as well.”

The panel also had much higher expectations for Michigan’s economy during the first quarter of this year versus the national economy. In fact, 70 percent of respondents forecasted the local economy will have a moderate to strong increase this year. In comparison, only 40 percent of respondents said they expect the national economy to improve.

According to officials at the Oakland University School of Business Administration, the entity behind the report, the optimism in Michigan’s economy reflects the strong recovery of the automotive industry.

Business executives who would like to participate in future Southeastern Michigan Business Confidence Index reports can register here. The next survey will be delivered in early March, Silberman says.

“The more people that take the survey, the better we can provide a more in-depth analysis,” Silberman says. “We would see the differences in business confidence between large and small businesses, and the differences between manufacturing and real estate.”

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