Business group: Michigan's economy on upward swing

Michigan’s entrepreneurial economy is on an upward swing of steady growth and is outpacing the national average, according to a report released today.

The Small Business Association of Michigan Foundation released the 19th Annual Entrepreneurship Score Card, which measures Michigan’s performance in entrepreneurship-specific economic indicators, which it compared to other states in order to forecast trends and identify signs of instability ahead.

Over the past two decades, according to the SBAM, Michigan has seen extended periods of decline, stagnation, recovery, and growth. But now, economic indicators show business startups have hit record highs.

“The pandemic seems to have sparked an impressive increase in entrepreneurship,” SBAM President and CEO Brian Calley said in a news briefing. “Michigan citizens appear to be turning to entrepreneurship more than ever before, even as the rising costs of inflation and worker shortages pose challenges, and a potential economic slowdown looms on the horizon.”

Beginning in the summer of 2020 and continuing through 2022, Michigan has seen record business starts, including those with employees and those operating as independent contractors and sole proprietors. Moreover, the five-year survival rate for small businesses shows notable improvement.

“It is a widely held rule of thumb that more than half of new small businesses fail within five years,” Calley said. “However, since 2020, Michigan has seen the five-year survival rate notably improve. An increase in new business starts combined with more businesses surviving past the five-year mark is a powerful combination for growth.”

Positive economic indicators for Michigan small businesses identified in this year’s scorecard include:

Small business revenue has experienced a 24.2% increase since 2020 – triple the U.S. increase of 8%.Michigan now boasts 8.5% more small businesses opening relative to the beginning of 2020. This compares favorably with the overall national average increase of 3.1%.Nationally, Michigan ranks fourth in four-year and tech credentials: the percent of bachelor’s and above degrees/certificates earned in technology-related fields. This talent pool is critical for Michigan’s future tech and non-tech growth companies.

The report identified issues pressing small businesses and entrepreneurs, including the following:

Michigan has 721,000 fewer people in the workforce as compared to January of 2000. Labor force participation peaked at 68.8% around the turn of the century. Today, Michigan struggles to stay above 60%.During that time, Michigan has seen the steepest decline in labor force participation among younger workers.As of the end of 2022, Michigan’s workforce was down by 97,200 people since COVID struck.Net domestic migration for Michigan has improved through the past decade but remains negative, indicating that worker supply from out of state isn’t promising.40.6% of U.S. small businesses and 41.9% of Michigan small businesses experienced what they describe as severe price increases in 2022.

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