Regulation and red tape is viewed by business as the number one factor inhibiting development across Great Britain, according to another survey from the CBI and regional development agencies.
But what's new? Well, apart from concerns about accessing finance and inadequate Government support, there are some good signs for firms in the Midlands.
The region saw the fastest growth in domestic orders and output and the most positive position for export orders, with a balance 18 per cent seeing an increase.
Businesses achieved a modest increase in selling prices, but only a small minority were able to pass on cost increases in full - explaining the decline in profit margins.
This relative success for the West Midlands plc means it expects an overall improvement in the business situation, with the region being among the most optimistic about future prospects.
This may be from a pretty low base, after being pilloried by the ongoing haemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs, but where there's a will there's a way.
Local companies may be reeling from the MG Rover effect, but there is still a lot of ingenuity out there to ride out the worst of it.
Many, especially those which are owed thousands of pounds and are unlikely to see anything but pennies back, are bound to be angry.
But they aren't lying down, but getting on with it and looking to new customers, new markets, new products.
They would probably have had to anyway, with the relentless cost down pressures from customers and rising commodity prices for steel and oil eating into their margins.
Even if Longbridge had stayed open, or if one of the bidders for the whole business does manage to revive some sort of production the chances are many would have still suffered.
So companies are looking to the future and to do this they need capital investment in new equipment and new skills. A high level of workforce skills was identified by companies in every region as the most important contributor to their competitiveness.
Seventy per cent of companies said they had funded training for employees over the past 12 months, with businesses in the West Midlands most likely to offer training to their employees.
Meanwhile employees were permitted to work flexibly in 56 per cent of firms during the last year - giving a choice of hours worked or the option to work from home.
More businesses in the West Midlands have allowed employees to work flexibly (62 per cent) than in any other region.
Terry Hodgkinson, Yorkshire Forward Chairman and lead spokesman for the regional development agencies on CBI issues said: " Energy prices and the slowdown in consumer spending are affecting growth but in most regions businesses appear to be cautiously optimistic and are increasing their investment in both machinery and people."
So we can't get too complacent, but after taking a bit of pounding we are at least moving in the right direction.