WEST MICHIGAN — Business owners across Michigan are decidedly less upbeat about their prospects for the coming six months than they were last spring, according to the results of a survey by PNC Bank.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents expect increased sales in the next six months, versus 54 percent in the prior survey in April. Eighteen percent expect sales to decline, compared to 12 percent six months ago.
Twenty-nine percent expect higher profits, compared to 39 percent in April, and 23 percent expect lower earnings, versus 20 percent in the previous survey by PNC Bank.
Expectations for hiring held steady from the spring to the fall, with 17 percent planning to add staff and 73 percent maintaining their present workforce.
The results reflect a sluggish U.S. economy, high unemployment and low job growth, low consumer confidence, uncertainty over the presidential election, PNC economist Kurt Rankin said.
The findings are also more consistent with the spring results than what PNC found in other states, which signifies that small business owners coming out of Michigan’s economic malaise of the last decade have had comparatively lower expectations for the future for both the state and national economies.
While their counterparts elsewhere are now significantly pulling back expectations from what they had in the spring, small business owners in Michigan have operated that way for some time and are planned accordingly for the next six months, Rankin said.
“It speaks to small business owners’ state of mind coming out of the recession. They have lower expectations but better planning as a result,” Rankin said.
Views on the local and national economies were relatively unchanged. Twelve percent of respondents feel optimistic about the local economy, compared to 13 percent six months ago, and 45 percent were pessimistic, two percentage points more than in April.
Seven percent were optimistic about the national economy and 54 percent were pessimistic. Both are one percentage points higher than six months ago.