Survey: Inflation, Not Jobs, Raises Concerns About Michigan’s Economy

Inflation, not jobs issues, is causing nearly three-quarters of registered Michigan voters to feel pessimistic about the future of the economy. // Image bank

The Detroit Regional Chamber (DRC) today released the results of its latest statewide poll of registered Michigan voters as its 2022 Mackinac Policy Conference kicks off this week on Mackinac Island.

The new survey revealed trends in perceptions of inflation, the state‘s education system, the role of business in social issues and the top motivations of voters during an election year.

“This poll is illuminating as we head into the 2022 midterm elections and will shape discussions at the Mackinac Policy Conference, which will focus on the changing role of business in these times of polarization,” said Sandy K. Baruah, President and CEO of DRC.

One area that was not polarized in the survey was inflation, with 72.8% saying the economy is on the wrong track. When voters were asked, in an open-ended question, what the most important issue facing Michigan was, inflation was the top concern at 33%.

Of the 72.8% of voters who said the economy was on the wrong track, 44% specifically cited inflation and the cost of goods, 9.8% cited gasoline prices, and 2 .3% of those voters cited the lack of jobs.

More than a quarter, 28%, said their economic situation was worse than in the past and 22.7% said they were doing better. However, the majority, 48.4%, said their situation was virtually unchanged.

In December 2021, 73.5% of voters said they were doing the same or better economically than in the past. In May 2022, 70.7% of voters say they are doing the same or better economically than in the past.

For the 28 percent who say they are doing worse, they specifically cite inflation as the reason.

More than three-quarters of those who say their situation has deteriorated specifically cited rising costs as the reason. Only 3.6% of those who say their situation is getting worse cite a lack of employment or work.

More than half of respondents, 54.7%, believe inflation will continue for years to come, while 34% believe it will start to slow. Voters under 50 are much more likely to believe it will go on for years – an average of 61.4% – while voters over 50 are more likely to believe it will slow down – 38.9% in mean.

Voters were asked about their employment status before COVID-19 arrived. They were then asked about their employment status today. Of those employed before COVID-19, 60.5% are still in the same job, while 26.2% of those employed before COVID-19 are in a different job. That’s 86.7% of people in total in the same job or in a different job post-pandemic.

A smaller percentage – 5.4% – of those employed before COVID-19 have retired or become disabled, while 4.3% are not working or looking for work at the moment. The smallest number – 3.5% – of those employed before COVID-19 are currently looking for work.

For workers who, prior to COVID-19, worked primarily in an office, just over half of those workers returned to the office full-time. Around a quarter said they work in a hybrid office/home environment, while 17.8% said they work primarily from home.

For workers who, prior to COVID-19, worked primarily in an office, just over half of those workers returned to the office full-time. Those 55.8% said they were mostly back in the office. More than a quarter said they work in a hybrid office/home environment and 17.8% said they work primarily from home.

When asked whether they support or oppose Michigan business leaders taking public stances on major policy issues, voters were mixed with 47.4% supporting and 30.9% opposing. . Some voters – 21.6% – said it depended.

“In line with the chamber’s recent polling work with the Glengariff Group, we continue to see a disconnect between voters’ perceptions of the overall economy, which is very negative (and) driven by inflation concerns, but a strong confidence in their own economic situation, including very low levels of job insecurity,” says Baruah.

The chamber’s voting partner, The Glengariff Group Inc., completed the statewide poll of 600 registered Michigan voters between May 9 and May 13.