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Macomb County Business Leaders Are Optimistic About New Year

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MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ) - Macomb County business leaders are optimistic about this year. The Fourth Macomb County Business Climate survey of more than 550 area business leaders shows most believe that business and employment conditions will continue to improve this year.

Over 80 percent of survey respondents reported that current business conditions are equal to or better than they were at this time last year, while 40 percent reported revenue growth and improved bottom lines compared to last year.

Fifty percent believe conditions for their particular business will be better by this time next year, while 51 percent expect revenue growth and 47 percent expect an improved bottom line.

Manufacturing related firms express the greatest optimism, while retail and financial services firms report above average optimism. Health and human service firms, however, are forecasting financial stress. Municipal and governmental organizations are the least optimistic with one-third reporting that conditions will worsen during 2012.

About a third of respondents say they expect to add employees in 2012. A majority of hiring will be new employees; few will return from layoffs.

Average selling prices will begin to increase in 2012, although two-thirds say prices will remain unchanged. Less than eight percent forecast selling price declines.

Employee pay and benefits are likely to fare better in 2012. While the majority of employers’ project typical pay rates for employees will remain unchanged, nearly one-quarter believe wage rates will improve. Less than four percent project wage reductions for their workers in 2012.

Fringe benefits, on the other hand, are likely to remain the same for most employees, yet slightly more employers forecast benefit reductions as benefit improvements in 2012.

Access to credit and business loans remains a top concern for area businesses. More than a third of businesses that rely on credit report that their borrowing needs were not fully satisfied. Only 11 percent believe credit conditions will improve in 2012.

The Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center defines a “Second Stage” company as one in a growth mode that has between 9-99 employees and $750,000 or more in sales. These companies are typically the “job generators” in a local economy and that is clearly the case in Macomb County.

For more information and to read the full report, visit www.macombcountymi.gov.

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