Businesses continuing to invest


A majority of Michigan business leaders expect to continue or boost their investment within the state despite increasing anticipation of slower economic expansion next year.

The latest survey data regarding capital and employment investment plans is about the same as earlier this year, according to the report by Business Leaders for Michigan, a business roundtable that includes top leadership responsible for driving nearly one-third of the state’s economy.

More than 80% of Michigan executives surveyed expect to add jobs or maintain current employment levels heading into 2020, while roughly 90% anticipated maintaining or expanding capital investment in the state.

“While Michigan’s senior executives remain positive about their companies’ abilities to continue growing jobs and investing capital in the state, a growing number are getting concerned about an economic downturn,” BLM President and CEO Doug Rothwell said. “The complexities surrounding U.S. and international trade relations, as well as the political and election cycle, are causing a bit more pessimism than we have seen in past years.”

Roughly 90% of BLM members think the U.S. economic outlook is going to stay about the same or worsen during the next six to 12 months, according to the survey, an increase of 7.5% from earlier this year.

Around 95% believe Michigan also will remain stable or slower during the same time period, an increase of 20% from earlier this year.

“We know that the capacity for employers to further invest in Michigan and establish new jobs is contingent on us addressing several pressing challenges: namely our infrastructure crisis, educational attainment and ensuring the state’s budget is completed on time,” Rothwell said. “To remain competitive over other states, our fiscal house must be in order, and we have to show signs of improvement on key indicators.”

To be a “top 10” state, Michigan needs 36,000 more residents working, $10,000 more income per person and $12,500 more GDP per person, according to the 2018 Economic Competitiveness Benchmarking Report released by BLM late last year. 

To help propel the state forward, BLM announced an action plan last year that addresses the group’s top concerns: K-12 education and job-training systems, college affordability, strength of infrastructure and financial stability.

The plan, called the Raise Your Hand for a Stronger Michigan campaign, highlights where there have been gains and points out the priorities the state should focus on to continue momentum.

The plan outlines how to be fiscally competitive, where to invest new dollars and how to grow the economy, as the Business Journal previously reported.

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