The newly released Michigan Future Business Index (MFBI) shows more than eight-in-10 (82 percent) of statewide business leaders representing small- to mid-sized businesses remain satisfied with the overall economy. Satisfaction is strongest in west Michigan (88 percent) and metro Detroit (82 percent).
The index has been commissioned since 2006 by the Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America and the Michigan Business Network, both based in Lansing.
More than half (52 percent) of respondents projected profit growth in the first half of 2020, and 60 percent projected increased sales growth for that same period.
Optimism remained strong despite relatively flat business performance over the past six months. During the last half of 2019, growth in wages and investments improved while sales growth, profit growth, and hiring decreased from the previous six-month period.
According to the survey results, acquiring talent and health insurance costs dominate the list of top challenges for businesses. New trade policies and tariffs are creating a considerable drag on growth, while recent federal tax cuts have made a marginal positive impact.
“Clearly, Michigan business owners remain concerned about attracting top talent, healthcare costs, and trade,” says Al Gileczek, president of Accident Fund Insurance Co. and CompWest Insurance. “But they also remain optimistic in the overall economy and we share that optimism.”
Chris Holman, CEO of the Michigan Business Network, says, “Business in general seems to be enthused about the next six months, and though they had slight downturns in profit they’re looking to rebound nicely and further invest in their employees. A small surprise was healthcare costs slipping into second place behind talent acquisition on the list of greatest challenges to business.”
A detailed summary of the 2019 year-end 2019 Michigan Future Business Index is available here.