The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce along with economic development partners in the I-69 International Trade Corridor and the MI Green Thumb recently released the results of a first-of-its-kind Regional Wage and Benefit Survey, which was conducted in collaboration with the University of Michigan-Flint.  The survey, which includes aggregate data from a seven-county region, projected increased hiring and minimal layoffs for the coming year.  Data from Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Tuscola, Sanilac and Huron counties are included in the results.

Aggregated survey findings show that more than 86 percent of companies surveyed say they expect to add new jobs in 2014.  Eighty-eight percent of Genesee County respondents anticipate hiring this year.  In addition, more than 93 percent of firms participating in the survey said they did not expect layoffs.

“The survey results are more good news for Genesee County and the seven-county region,” said Tim Herman, CEO, Flint & Genesee Chamber.  “Job growth is critical for our region to continue to rebound. In addition, the report is a valuable tool that will help us, support existing businesses as well as attract new businesses to Flint & Genesee by providing the data needed to inform hiring and benefit decisions.”

Benefit data for the region revealed that 86.8 percent of participating employers offer health insurance to full-time employees, which is slightly above the 85 percent of national employers offering the same according to 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.  Paid time off is provided by 88 percent of respondents and 40 percent offer tuition reimbursement.

Eighty percent of regional respondents said they offer a retirement plan for full-time employees, while in Genesee County more than 85 percent of employers offered retirement plans.  Both figures exceed the 74 percent national average cited in 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics data.  The most common option offered was a 401K plan.

Watch Janice Karcher, the Chamber's Vice President of Economic Development, discuss the 2014 Wage & Benefit Survey.

According to Mike Finney, President and CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) the collaborative effort that resulted in the Regional Wage and Benefit Study is exactly what the state envisioned when it realigned economic development efforts across the state into 10 regions.

“The East Michigan region, which includes the seven counties in this study has raised the bar for other regions across the state,” said Finney.  “By taking the lead on creating a seven-county wage and benefit study, these economic development partners are providing the type of data that will help Michigan stay competitive with regions across the country looking to attract businesses.  The participation of the University of Michigan-Flint as the aggregator and interpreter of the data is also a strong component to the study. Congratulations to all of the partners who led the way on this effort.”

Paula Nas, Director, Center of Economic Education for the University of Michigan-Flint (U of M-Flint) says the process, the participants and the partnership helped create a unique and valuable end result.  She says the regional survey is the result of state-of-the-art data collection and compilation strategies that she was pleased to contribute to the effort on behalf of U of M-Flint.

Employers from each of the seven counties were invited to complete the survey.  One hundred seventy companies contributed to the report data.  Survey results are available for the entire seven-county region; the I-69 International Trade Corridor, which includes Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer and St. Clair counties; MI Green Thumb, which includes Tuscola, Sanilac and Huron counties; and, each of the participating counties.

To obtain the Genesee County edition, which includes the 2014 I-69/Thumb Regional Wage and Benefit Survey, I-69 International Trade Corridor Survey and Genesee County Survey visit www.flintandgenesee.org/wage-and-benefit/.  The three report set is available for $75.  For more information contact Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development for the Chamber at (810) 600-1429 or jkarcher@flintandgenesee.org.