Business owners across Michigan head toward the latter months of 2017 with a more optimistic perspective about their future prospects than ever before, according to a sentiment survey.
Nearly eight in 10 of the executives at small and midsized businesses surveyed during July said they were satisfied with the economy, a record high for the semi-annual Michigan Future Business Index. That compares to 67 percent six months earlier and 66 percent in June 2016.
Seventy-three percent rated Michigan as a “pretty good” or “excellent” market for their goods or services, which compares to 68 percent a year earlier.
“Optimism continues to blossom in Michigan’s recovering business market. Michigan businesses are leading the way in increasing employee wages, compared to the stagnant wages being reported throughout the rest of the country. Michigan small businesses are also seeing a significant improvement in their bottom lines, showing opportunity for further investment,” according to a report on the survey results.
“While challenges remain, small businesses are creating their own solutions. Regarding the challenge of finding qualified candidates to fill open positions, training and retraining of less qualified individuals remains the preferred strategy.”
The Michigan Future Business Index is based on results of the survey conducted by worker’s compensation insurance carrier The Accident Fund Co. and the Michigan Business Network. They surveyed 608 executives in July at small and midsized businesses that employ 500 people or fewer.
Challenges identified in the survey include keeping and attracting good employees, which was cited by 25 percent of survey respondents as their biggest challenge, versus 18 percent a year earlier.
Elsewhere, 48 percent of respondents report increased sales in the prior six months, 34 percent said their profits were up, and 46 percent increased wages over the last year. One-quarter reported increased hiring, which is down two percentage points from a year earlier, and 25 percent also said they’ve spent more on capital investments.
Looking ahead, 56 percent of respondents expect higher profits in the next six months, 61 percent expect increased sales, and 34 percent expect to hire more employees.