MARQUETTE — Michigan owners of small and medium–sized businesses are increasingly optimistic not only about their own companies, but about the entire state’s economic future.

The owner and CEO of visited Marquette this afternoon. He had good news for local professionals from the Michigan Future Business Index. It’s a random survey done twice a year of nearly a thousand business owners around the state. The most recent survey came out in June.

“We’ve been doing this every six months for over 15 years, so we have some really good trending going on,” Chris Holman said. “We have found that this particular one is the highest ranking in the enthusiasm, the optimism, the projection, of any one we have had at this point.”

Finding and retaining talent was the greatest challenge mentioned in the survey. Health care was number two. Still, the business owners taking part in the survey were mostly very positive about the state’s direction.

“I think it’s in keeping with what people are seeing,” Holman said. “They’re seeing the economy of Michigan turn around, and they’re enthused about what’s coming in the future. As a result, they’ll buy more inventory, they’ll hire people and they’ll do things you need to move the economy forward.”

The lunchtime presentation was part of the Lake Superior Community Partnership’s Michigan Economic Forecast Series. Several Marquette County area economists and professionals also discussed topics important to the region during the luncheon.