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Sunday, 27 July 2014 14:07

Survey: Michigan business owners expect better sales and profits through remainder of year

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A new survey shows business owners across Michigan are increasingly optimistic about their fortunes for the second half of 2014, although finding skilled workers remains a big concern.

Sixty-two percent of the business owners surveyed in May and June by Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America and the Michigan Business Network said they were satisfied with the direction of the state’s economy, up from 54 percent six months earlier and from 52 percent midway through 2013.

The survey, conducted by Phoenix Innovate in Troy, found improvements in all key economic indicators that small and mid-sized business were asked about. Many reported increased hiring, wages, profits and capital investments from six months ago.

“This year’s survey results build on the significant optimism established last year and reinforce Michigan’s journey toward economic recovery,” said Accident Fund President Mike Britt. “It’s exciting to see how small businesses in our state are continuing to find innovative ways to be a driving force for growth.”

The largest improvements from the previous survey came in expectations for sales and profits. Among respondents, 62 percent expect increased sales in the next six months, a 14 percentage point swing from November. Half of the respondents projected increased profitability, versus 36 percent in last fall’s survey.

The results are based on surveys with executives at 611 companies in Michigan that employ 500 or fewer people.

Despite the improved results from last year on economic indicators, results indicate that “small businesses continue to have concerns about the challenges of doing business in this state.”

At the top of the list is finding and attracting qualified applicants for open jobs, which replaced health care as the top concern in the prior survey. Nearly half of the respondents reported difficulty in filling open positions.

The insurance, financial and manufacturing sectors reported higher demand for skilled workers.

“The data indicate that while they are optimistic about business in Michigan, business leaders continue to struggle to attract and keep skilled employees,” the survey report states. “For some businesses, this means current employees work overtime until a suitable candidate is found; others are hiring candidates that meet basic requirements and investing in training.

“Ultimately, this means businesses invest in training employees for the skills they need to fill short-term needs, but they desire more effort at the state level to make Michigan a more attractive market for skilled laborers and recent graduates.”

Read 2922 times Last modified on Monday, 28 July 2014 10:19

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