Study: Michigan Business Climate Improves, More Work Needed

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tPerceptions of Michigan’s business climate have improved considerably in the last five years according to an annual survey presented today at an Economic Club of Detroit luncheon. Respondents who consider Michigan a business-friendly state grew to 65 percent from 25 percent in 2009.

t“We have significant improvements in our direction and recognition of the serious economic issues faced by the state,” says Margaret Baker, program manager of Ann Arbor’s Baker Strategy Group, who conducted the 2014 Economic Outlook Survey. She adds that, overall, businesses improved in almost every category of the research study.

tThe survey — conducted in November and December in Michigan as well as Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — said respondents would recommend Michigan as a place to do business more than doubled to 79 percent from 31 percent in 2009. 

tHowever, Baker says “there are many areas for improvement and action by statewide groups as well as regional and local groups like chambers of commerce, universities, government groups, and others who must collaborate to march Michigan forward.”

tOverall, the outlook for doing business has improved from a year ago, although business satisfaction as a place to grow an enterprise was down slightly from last year, Baker says. Additionally, Baker says the issues confronting the state are more regional and local than a year ago, although the primary challenges businesses will face this year are health care costs and related employee benefits costs. All three sectors surveyed — businesses, nonprofit, and public or government — agree on this.

tMore than 60 associations across the Michigan participated in the program, including the Detroit Economic Club, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber, Michigan Manufacturers Association, and Southwest Michigan First.

tBaker Strategy has conducted surveys of the Michigan Manufacturing Association for the last five years and has found had strong gains each year since the 2009 economic recession.

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