Michigan Business Leaders Bullish on State Economy, Plan Return to In-person Work

Michigan’s business leaders see robust growth ahead in the state’s economy during the next six to 12 months and plan a return to in-person office work in the third and fourth quarters of this year, according to a new quarterly economic survey completed by Business Leaders for Michigan, a nonprofit organization based in Detroit.
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Downtown Detroit at Night
Michigan’s business leaders see robust growth ahead in the state’s economy during the next six to 12 months. // Photo courtesy of the Downtown Detroit Partnership

Michigan’s business leaders see robust growth ahead in the state’s economy during the next six to 12 months and plan a return to in-person office work in the third and fourth quarters of this year, according to a new quarterly economic survey completed by Business Leaders for Michigan, a nonprofit organization based in Detroit.

Approximately 92 percent of survey respondents say the state’s economy will likely remain strong and growing during the next six to 12 months.

“With our progress on vaccination and the influx of federal stimulus dollars into Michigan, the state’s largest employers are predicting a strong period of economic growth,” says Jeff Donofrio, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “Whether that growth will be sustained depends on if our state’s policymakers invest federal stimulus funding strategically to make Michigan more competitive in the future.”

Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “MI Vacc to Normal” plan, remote work will no longer be required starting May 24.

“Even with the removal of restrictions on in-person office work, most businesses — nearly 80 percent — are planning for a gradual return,” Donofrio says. “Employers continue to be focused on making sure workplaces are safe and that employees have more flexibility in how and where they work, even after in-person office work returns. They also know that expanded childcare options and in-person instruction at K-12 schools is necessary for many employees to return to the physical workspace.”

While surveyed executives said they believe most Michigan workers will be coming back to the office post-COVID, 93 percent of employers plan to offer hybrid work models to some staff, and almost a third of employers say 50 percent or more of employees will work in hybrid mode.

Seventy percent of businesses expect their real estate footprint to remain the same or increase, with 27 percent planning to decrease their physical space in the coming year.

Other survey findings include:

  • More than 90 percent of the state’s business leaders expect to maintain or grow employment and capital investment during the next six to 12 months.
  • More than 94 percent of business leaders anticipate the U.S. economy to remain strong and growing during the next year.
  • Currently, 67 percent of executives surveyed say more than half of their employees are still working remotely.

Business Leaders for Michigan conducted the internal member survey in late April and early May of 2021.

 

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