Michigan Businesses See Light at the End of the Tunnel

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Accident Fund releases fall/winter 2006 Future Business Indicator

We sponsor this survey to help every business in Michigan in their business planning and to support and learn from one another.

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The average Michigan business owner is still unhappy with the condition of the economy, but the next six-month business outlook is favorable, according to the fall 2006 "Future Business Indicator."

Conducted by EPIC-MRA in fall 2006, the "Future Business Indicator" (FBI) poll asked more than 700 owners and managers of small to mid-sized Michigan businesses questions to measure their state of mind and" business wellness."

Adding to the optimism was a sharp jump in the number who are "excited" when they think about their business ten years from now.

Ed Sarpolus of EPIC-MRA, compared results from the spring and fall surveys and highlighted several trends:

  • Michigan business leaders are still not satisfied with the economy (Q1: 69% are somewhat or very dissatisfied).
  • But there is a light at the end of the tunnel (Q2: 51% say their six-month business outlook is very or somewhat good vs. 46% in spring survey).
  • This optimism is based on the fact that they see their businesses finally stabilizing, so they can begin to look to the future. Things are no longer getting worse (Q3: 54% believe their bottom line will be stable; 18% believe it will improve).
  • The concerns are more about the business and what they have more control of vs. fuel costs that dominated the beginning of the year (Q4).
  • There are still concerns about layoffs (Q5: 14% will or may lay off employees).
  • But the good news is that businesses plan on increasing wages (30% plan on increasing wages vs. 20% in spring survey).
  • This new confidence is witnessed by the fact that more businesses are sure that there will be no changes to benefits (77% will maintain benefits vs. 71% in spring).
  • Many more business owners are excited about the long-term future of their business (Q30: 52% excited or encouraged vs. 43% in spring).

Fielded in the spring and fall, the FBI is sponsored by Accident Fund Insurance Company of America. The survey is also affiliated with noted small business advocate Chris Holman and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly, and is based on Holman's Lansing Business Index, which has been conducted semi-annually since 2003.

"As the leading provider of workers compensation insurance for Michigan's small and mid-sized business community, our success is directly connected to the success of every business in Michigan," says Bob Metzger, Accident Fund communications advisor. "We sponsor this survey to help every business in Michigan in their business planning and to support and learn from one another."

The complete survey results for both fall and spring 2006 can be viewed and downloaded at Accident Fund's Web site (http://www.accidentfund.com). The next survey is scheduled to be fielded in April 2007.

Headquartered in Lansing, Michigan, Accident Fund is one of the nation's leading workers compensation insurers, operating in 43 states and the District of Columbia. The company also provides third party administration services and disability management. Founded in 1912, Accident Fund is rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best and is a member of Ward's 50 top property/casualty carriers.


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Bob Metzger
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