The PEO industry is growing – there is certainly no doubt about that. Consider that a few short years ago, a large percentage of even the most informed small to medium sized business owners had no idea what a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) was, and certainly had not considered working with one. That’s changed, in a big way: Changes in the marketplace, uncertainty surrounding health care, increases in Workers’ Compensation costs and other factors have given PEOs greater visibility, and a more central role in safeguarding the success of growing businesses.
A recent study conducted by McBassi & Company estimates the PEO industry’s gross annual revenues at between $136 and $156 billion. The study further cites between 156,000 and 180,000 PEO client companies, and somewhere between 2.7 and 3.4 million employees receiving services from PEOs. Obviously, none of these are small numbers, and virtually every current and emergent trend would indicate that they are likely to continue to rapidly grow in the near-term future.
While the industry’s overall national growth is impressive in and of itself, the study includes another remarkable, little-noticed fact: Two of the states leading the nation in the numbers of PEOs who call them home aren’t necessarily the country’s biggest (although they could perhaps be considered the most forward-looking). Both Florida and Michigan boast impressive numbers of resident PEOs, with Florida leading the pack at 107 – beating out much more populous states, including New York and California. Meanwhile, Michigan’s PEO census nearly equals New York’s at the low estimate (47 vs. 49) and handily beats it at the high-end estimate (59). Michigan is similarly neck-in-neck with population- and business-dense California.
To us, that means several things:
- Businesses in states with economies hit hardest by the 2008 economic downturn, as both Michigan and Florida were, have found that PEOs offer both competitive and survivability advantages that they can’t afford to ignore.
- States forced by adverse market conditions to adopt new approaches to business are leading the way in demonstrating the efficiencies and economies of scale that PEOs make possible.
- States where PEOs prosper, and where by extension the increased operational efficiencies PEOs have to offer are more easily leveraged by small to mid-sized businesses, will play a strong hand in reshaping the HR landscape in the coming years as the PEO/HR outsourcing model is further proven in practice and gains in prominence.
We have to say that these are developments we’ve seen coming, and have had a hand in helping to make happen. Trion maintains a strong presence in both Michigan and Florida – the consequence of our early recognition of these states’ potential as powerful centers of activity with high growth prospects. We also were quick to recognize that these states’ unique business climates and unique business needs lend themselves particularly well to serving as environments where a truly professional, efficient PEO could effectively serve its clients, and prosper in doing so.
The PEO business is growing ever stronger in the mitten and sunshine states, and Trion is pleased to be helping to lead the charge.