A survey is in

For the second year in a row, David Baker of Baker Strategy Group has conducted an economic outlook survey of six states in the Great Lakes region. The Lake Superior Community Partnership once again was included as one of 16 partners to assist them in distributing the survey and results. Our focus is the Upper Peninsula. Baker will be in Marquette on Jan. 23 to present his findings. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of the results for the State of Michigan and the U.P.:

The survey compiled feedback in six categories outlook, Michigan business, state of Michigan, regions, communities and organizational culture.

Outlook: The satisfaction index measures the overall satisfaction with Michigan as a place to grow a business. The overall satisfaction for the business sector with Michigan communities is slightly down from 2013, but up for the Upper Peninsula. Respondents were asked about the near-term outlook for their organization, which is up for Michigan overall and for all three time periods (three years, 12 months and 6 months). This is also true for the U.P. Most businesses have every intention of staying in Michigan and believe the state is a great fit for their organization. Overall hiring expectations are low, but slightly better than 2013.

Michigan Business: The Michigan business community tells us that businesses do well in supporting the local community and contributing to area nonprofits. Healthcare costs remain a top challenge for businesses going forward.

State of Michigan: Michigan is a great state for raising a family, but there is a clear sense we do not yet have a vibrant economy. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of eight imperatives. Attracting and retaining top talent is clearly the leading need for Michigan businesses.

Regions: When indicating a level of agreement with ten measures relating to region, all areas were down three to five points, suggesting work at the regional level could indicate an area with opportunity for improvement. Some examples included: Embracing diversity; large pool of skilled, educated talent; a second to none education system and a vibrant technology hub.

Communities: Respondents say that their communities have healthy places of worship. No surprise, public transportation stands out as a deficit in Michigan communities.

Organizational Culture: The culture of organizations throughout Michigan is strong, with scores up slightly across the board from 2013. The Upper Peninsula is up in the categories of understanding organizations’ vision for the future and having a workplace focused on adapting to change, but down in the feeling of involvement in making decisions affecting employee’s work, leaders in organizations following through and high performance.

This is just a small sample of what the entire survey covers. To meet Baker and hear his presentation that is focused on our region, please RSVP for our economic outlook event for Thursday at the Ramada Inn. Chris Holman, from Michigan Business Network, will host the event and record interviews for his radio show. A representative from the Marquette County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Joel Shultz from Michigan Works! and myself will also all present our thoughts on what this all means for 2014. The cost is $10, which includes a light continental breakfast. To RSVP, visit www.marquette.org.

Thank you to those who participated in the survey and look for it again in late fall, 2014.

Editor’s note: Amy Clickner is CEO?of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.