Michigan business leaders are bullish on the state’s economy, plan to return to work in person

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Michigan business leaders forecast robust growth in the state’s economy over the next six to twelve months. // Photo courtesy of the Downtown Detroit Partnership

Michigan business leaders forecast robust growth in the state’s economy over the next six to 12 months and expect a return to in-person office work in the third and fourth quarters of this year, according to a new quarterly economic survey conducted by business leaders for Michigan, a Detroit-based nonprofit.

About 92 percent of survey respondents say the state’s economy is likely to remain strong and growing over the next six to 12 months.

“With our progress on immunization and the influx of federal stimulus dollars into Michigan, the state’s largest employers are predicting a strong period of economic growth,” said Jeff Donofrio, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “The sustainability of this growth depends on our state’s policymakers strategically investing federal stimulus funds to make Michigan more competitive in the future. “

As part of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “MI Vacc to Normal” plan, remote working will no longer be required as of May 24.

“Even with the removal of restrictions on in-person office work, most companies – almost 80% – expect a gradual return,” Donofrio said. “Employers continue to ensure that workplaces are safe and that employees have more flexibility in how and where they work, even after returning from office work in person. They also know that expanding childcare options and face-to-face instruction in K-12 schools are necessary for many employees to return to the physical workspace. “

While executives surveyed said they believe most Michigan workers will return to the office after COVID, 93% of employers plan to offer hybrid work models to some employees, and nearly a third of employers say that 50% or more of the employees will work in hybrid mode.

Seventy percent of businesses expect their real estate footprint to stay the same or grow, and 27% plan to reduce their physical space in the coming year.

Other survey results include:

  • More than 90 percent of the state’s business leaders plan to maintain or expand employment and capital investment over the next six to twelve months.
  • More than 94% of business leaders predict that the US economy will remain strong and growing over the next year.
  • Currently, 67% of executives surveyed say that more than half of their employees still work remotely.

Michigan business leaders conducted the internal member survey in late April and early May 2021.

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