LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan’s small business owners have a positive outlook, and many plan to hire — that’s according to a PNC survey of small business owners, and the bank’s Chief Economist Stewart Hoffman.

“In Michigan, 60 percent were going to do investing, the national average was 70 percent,” said Hoffman. “So, we think it’s encouraging, and there’s definitely some improvement by all means in the auto industry, and the many dealers, and suppliers, and the manufacturing component of that showed that improvement.”

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Hoffman said the U.S. is in a sustainable recovery with job growth — some of that centered in the auto industry and the housing market.

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Hoffman said they also think we’re nearing a peek in gasoline prices.

“(That is) very important to what’s going on in this town. Just like we did last year. And we think gas prices are probably, after Memorial Day, going to go back down just like they did last year, and give some relief to stretched consumers,” he said.

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Hoffman believes gas prices will go down to between $3.50-$3.75 a gallon on average by the end of the summer.