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Michigan Businesses Seeing Long-Term Upward Trend in Continued Tough Economy

LANSING, Mich., Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- While the economy remains tough across the state, Michigan's small- and mid-sized business owners still believe things are beginning to move in the right direction, according to a recent survey.  The survey indicated that more and more Michigan business owners are saying they plan to reinvest in their businesses through equipment and advertising purchases.  Regional data collected in the survey shows signs of growth in both the Metro Detroit and Grand Rapids regions, with more there saying they are bullish about the future economy and they plan to hire new employees.

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These findings come from the semi-annual Future Business Index study, commissioned by Lansing-based Accident Fund Insurance Company of America and conducted by Marketing Resource Group, Inc. (MRG) in October 2011.  A total of 600 Michigan business owners, operators, officers and managers were interviewed for this survey.

This survey yielded some positive results despite the lingering sluggish economic conditions.  The most significant change noted in the survey was with regard to increase in profits over the past six months, moving up two percentage points to 22 percent from the October 2010 FBI survey reading of 20 percent.  Additionally, 15 percent of businesses surveyed said they increased employee wages, a slight improvement over the June 2011 survey when it was at 14 percent, while 11 percent of businesses said they increased the number of employees.

"These surveys continue to show that the business climate in Michigan is slowly but steadily improving," Mike Britt, president of Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, said.  "A large number of our customers are small- and mid-sized businesses, so we are eager to see Michigan businesses continue to grow and prosper.  A healthy business climate in Michigan is good for everyone."

Other positive results from the survey include:

  • Six-month business outlook.  Half (50 percent) of respondents said that the business outlook for the next six months is good, with 36 percent saying it is "somewhat good."  

  • Six-month "bottom line" expectations.  Thirty-nine percent of small business owners said they expect sales to increase in the next six months.  While the outlook has slumped slightly since June, it is still trending significantly higher since October 2010.

  • Hiring and layoffs.  Fifteen percent of respondents said they plan to hire more employees in the next six months, while 18 percent plan to increase wages, both showing a slight pullback from the June 2011 survey.  Regionally, 22 percent said they plan to hire more workers in Metro Detroit and 21 percent said they plan to increase wages in Lansing.

"The slow and steady growth we are seeing in these statewide Future Business Index surveys is encouraging," Chris Holman, CEO of the Michigan Business Network and publisher of the Greater Lansing Business Monthly, said.  "An increasing number of our hard-working business owners are beginning to show less concern about their economic future.  The fact that they continue to make investments in their businesses and are continuing to hire is a testament to their resiliency and desire to improve Michigan's business climate."

To view a summary of the most recent FBI survey, please visit the Accident Fund Insurance Company of America website at www.accidentfund.com.  

Accident Fund Insurance Company of America

Founded in 1912 and headquartered in Lansing, Mich., Accident Fund Insurance Company of America is a licensed workers' compensation insurer in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Accident Fund is rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Accident Fund Holdings, Inc., the 10th largest workers' compensation insurer in the United States. For more information, visit Accident Fund's Web site at www.accidentfund.com.

SOURCE Accident Fund Insurance Company of America



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