Survey: 72% of Michigan Small/Mid-sized Business Leaders Dissatisfied with Economy

A new survey from the Michigan Future Business Index shows satisfaction with the state’s economy has slightly improved since May, but lags significantly behind record levels of satisfaction a year ago.
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The Michigan Future Business Index shows satisfaction with the state’s economy lags behind last year. // Stock photo

A new survey from the Michigan Future Business Index shows satisfaction with the state’s economy has slightly improved since May, but lags significantly behind record levels of satisfaction a year ago.

According to the index, 28 percent of statewide business leaders representing small- to mid-sized businesses are satisfied with the current overall economy in Michigan, somewhat better than the record low of 11 percent in May.

Before COVID-19 in mid-March, more than 82 percent of last December’s MFBI respondents indicated satisfaction with the economy in Michigan.

The percentage of businesses describing their performance as “pretty good” or “excellent” was 27 percent in the most recent survey, and 8 percent in May — as compared to 81 percent from a year ago.

The latest data shows 52 percent of respondents said they were optimistic about business after COVID-19, up from 39 percent in May. Those expressing optimism pin their hopes on loyal customers and pent-up demand. The 31 percent who are pessimistic about getting back to normal cite the loss of customers as the top concern followed by government overreach and regulation.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) say they have not laid off any employees, and more than eight in 10 (82 percent) say they have not cut wages. Respondents cite their ability to adapt and to have more employees work remotely as the main contributors to saving jobs. Additionally, more than eight in 10 say they have been able to maintain or improve employee benefits.

Finally, respondents indicated that sales decreased (70 percent), profits decreased (64 percent), and cash flow decreased (64 percent).

“While the survey is showing improvement with some business conditions over the past six months, it also reflects serious concerns our state’s business owners continue to have going forward,” says Chris Holman, CEO of the Michigan Business Network. “Given what our statewide economy has been through over the past few months, I think this shows the incredible spirit of small business owners in our great state.”

The semi-annual Michigan Future Business Index was commissioned by Accident Fund Insurance Company of America and the Michigan Business Network, and is conducted by the Michigan-based market research firm ROI Insight. A total of 600 Michigan business executives from companies with 500 or fewer employees were interviewed from November 5 to December 2, 2020 via the web for the December 2020 survey.

“The December 2020 MFBI report is extremely important as it details how small businesses are reacting to the multitude of challenges they are facing as a result of COVID-19 and its aftermath,” says Al Gileczek, president of Accident Fund Insurance Company of America and CompWest Insurance. “This survey gives a clear picture of opportunities and challenges that remain as the U.S. continues to deal with the economic impacts surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.”

To review a detailed summary of the December 2020 Michigan Future Business Index, visit MichiganBusinessNetwork.com.

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