Michigan local officials' views on the next recession: timing, concerns, and actions taken

October 2019

This report presents the assessments of Michigan’s local government leaders regarding the next recession, including its expected timing and impacts, and whether their jurisdictions have taken action to prepare for it. These findings are based on statewide surveys of local government leaders in the Spring 2019 wave of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS).

Key Findings

  • A majority of local leaders statewide (57%) are concerned about the potential impact of the next recession on their jurisdictions’ ability to deliver public services and maintain government operations.
    • More than three-quarters of officials from larger communities (with more than 10,000 residents) are concerned about the potential impacts on service provision. 
  • Although many local officials are concerned about the next recession, there is little immediate sense of urgency. Overall, 39% of local leaders don’t know when to expect the next recession will start (when asked in spring 2019), while 57% believe it is more than a year away, including 31% who say it is more than two years away. Meanwhile, just 3% think it will likely start within the next 12 months.
  • Only 13% of local leaders believe their jurisdictions are very prepared for the next recession, although another 57% say they are at least somewhat prepared. Meanwhile, 20% report being either somewhat unprepared (16%) or very unprepared (4%) to deal with the next economic recession. 
    • Local officials who say their jurisdictions are unprepared for the next recession are most likely to be from mid-sized jurisdictions and those in the Upper Peninsula, Southeast, and East Central regions. In addition, county officials are more likely than city, village, or township officials to say their jurisdictions are unprepared.
  • Finally, just a quarter (26%) of local officials report their governments have taken specific actions to prepare for the next economic recession, although this includes over half (55%) of the state’s largest jurisdictions (those with more than 30,000 residents).