6:59am

Tue January 28, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Upstate CEO's slightly more confident about the economy

Confidence among upstate New York business leaders is up slightly, according to a new poll, but worries over health care reform and workforce quality are keeping their confidence low-key.

Company CEO's polled by the Siena College Research Institute said they’re just as likely to expand their workforce this year - 28 percent - as they were in 2013 - 27 percent.

Manufacturing and engineering sectors posted the highest job growth expectations.

Overall confidence among upstate company executives about the economy rose six points last year to 94.6; closer to a polling break-even point of 100, indicating equal optimism and pessimism. It stood at 88.9 percent the year before.

A third of as many companies - compared to before the recession - are saying they’re going to hire, as opposed to shed staff, said Don Levy the polling institute’s director.

Levy says the latest poll reflects perceptions of the impact of national health care overall.

"We see CEO's saying that they wish it were repealed, they think it’s going to have a negative impact on their business. And one place it impacts them is on their hiring practices," he said.

The survey found CEO’s say the quality of the labor market still leaves something to be desired.

The Capital Region’s CEOs are the most optimistic, the survey found. It was the only region with a score above 100. Levy says that has to do with a growing tech center and government-related industries.

The survey found that companies are upbeat about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Startup-NY plan, which will create tax-free business areas on college campuses.

Siena Research Institute has conducted the poll annually for seven years by surveying about 600 upstate company executives.

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