BLM: Growth expected to continue


The majority of business leaders in the state are optimistic about the continued growth rates for both the Michigan and U.S. economies.

The most recent quarterly forecast from Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) reported the majority of business leaders surveyed remain optimistic about growth trends in the state for the next six months. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they were optimistic about the continued growth for Michigan, which is slightly down from the previous quarter.

“A majority of our members surveyed predict their companies will maintain or increase capital investment and employment in Michigan into the new year,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM president and CEO. “In fact, 63 percent of members say their companies are likely to increase employment.”

In comparison, optimism about U.S. economic growth for the next six months rose sharply to 44 percent from the previous quarter’s 29 percent.

Expectations for the next 18 months are less positive. Forty-five percent of business leaders expected the Michigan economy to improve over the next 18 months, which is down from 66 percent in the previous quarter.

Business leaders also were less optimistic about overall U.S. economic growth within the next 18 months. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they expected continued growth, which still is more positive than a reported 32 percent in the second quarter of 2017.

Optimism for the state economy has remained relatively consistent since the fourth quarter of 2016. This previous quarter reported a significant decrease in business leaders who think the economy will continue to grow in the next 18 months. Comparatively, optimism for overall U.S. economic growth decreased sharply from the end of 2016, when 84 percent of business leaders were positive, down to 71 percent in the first quarter of 2017 and diving to 32 percent in the second quarter.

Fifty percent of BLM members expected to increase capital investment in Michigan during the next six months, with the remaining 50 percent expecting no change. Sixty-three percent said they anticipate an increase in employment, while 28 percent expected no changes and 9 percent predicted a reduction in employment.

BLM is focused on making Michigan a “Top 10” state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. The organization is composed exclusively of chairpersons, chief executive officers or the most senior executives of Michigan’s largest companies and universities.

BLM members drive nearly one-third of the state’s economy, provide 390,000 direct jobs in Michigan, generate over $1 trillion in annual revenue and serve nearly half of all Michigan public university students.

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