Michigan: National politics depressing SMB optimism?

Highlights:

  • National politics have an impact at the local level
  • Michigan scores mediocre ranks in small business optimism and hiring intent
  • Healthcare uncertainties may be holding back confidence and action

“All politics is local.” As political and policy dramas unfold at the national level, many on Main Street are assuming a wait-and-see posture. That appears to be true in Michigan, where concerns over national healthcare reform, in particular, appear to be dampening small business optimism and intentions to add staff this year.

Michigan ranks #24 nationally for small business optimism and #26 for hiring intent, according to Womply’s national study. Statewide, 67% of small businesses feel good about prospects this year, compared to 70% nationally, and 1 in 5 merchants plan to add staff this year. Those are strong numbers in isolation, but they are pretty average when compared to high confidence nationally.

Mediocre optimism means Michigan’s 856,000 small businesses will probably leave economic impact on the table this year. Our study found strong correlations between optimism and actions that drive economic value, such as hiring, business expansion, and seeking new growth capital.

The national political atmosphere seems to be having a magnified effect on merchants in the Wolverine State. Uncertainties around repeal and replacement of Obamacare may lead to insurance rate hikes for individuals in Michigan, and business owners may be worrying about additional fallout for employers.

Health insurance is a top-five worry for Michigan small business owners, and half say that Obamacare would either be negative for their business or they’re waiting to see what will replace it. Michiganders are also concerned about Donald Trump’s election as president, the federal regulatory environment, and the health of the national economy, including the possibility of a recession.

Read our full report below.

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