Tuesday, 02 March 2021 00:23

Michigan Business Leaders Predict Fast COVID-19 Recovery, Return to In-Person Work by September

Written by Scott McClallen, The Center Square
The skyline of Grand Rapids, MI, at dusk.  The skyline of Grand Rapids, MI, at dusk.  Shutterstock.com/Sean Pavone


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An updated survey of Michigan’s business leaders reflects higher confidence in the state’s economic recovery in the next six to 12 months, with most anticipating employees will return to in-person work between July and September of 2021.

Around 84% of respondents expect the state’s economy to remain the same or improve during the next six to 12 months, a six-point increase from the last survey.


“As vaccine distribution ramps up and economic confidence continues to expand, there’s reason to be optimistic about the future,” Business Leaders for Michigan President and CEO Jeff Donofrio said in a statement. “Yet even with robust growth and continued federal stimulus funds, it could still take years for employment to recover to pre-pandemic levels.”


The survey pinned the three most significant factors influencing Michigan’s future economic growth to be the speed and acceptance of vaccinations, the availability of federal stimulus dollars and employers’ projected future capital investment and employment.


The executives surveyed said they anticipate growth in business investment, with 88% predicting stable or expanded employment and 91% expecting steady or increasing capital investment.


“Despite this confidence, there’s still uncertainty around how quickly we can reach herd immunity, the impact of new COVID variants on the economy and the ability of government to support economic recovery,” Donofrio said.


Nearly 55% of executives surveyed say at least half of their staff members are still working remotely, though 84% expect employees to return to in-person work by Q3.


While most employees are expected to return, remote work will also continue, with more than half of employers expecting to have greater than 10% of their workforce working remotely in the future.


“Michigan’s large employers are planning a return to in-person work,” Donofrio said. “However, many are still evaluating remote work operations for some employees.”


About 48% of business leaders expect the U.S. economy to improve during the coming year, with another 35% believing it will remain about the same.


Much of  the increased confidence is likely due to...

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