Siena Poll: Upstate CEO optimism sinks back to COVID-19 low

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LOUDONVILLE — Top bosses across upstate New York have a bleak view of the state’s business climate, the Siena Research Institute found in a recently-released poll.

Roughly one in five CEOs believe that business conditions are improving and will continue to progress. Meanwhile, 54% — up from 41% last year — expect worsening conditions.

Approximately 38% of those polled expect revenues to increase, a nine-point decrease from yesteryear. Some 53% said that “they would if they could” relocate out of state.

The Business Council of New York State, Inc.-sponsored poll was conducted from November to February. Siena College has been orchestrating the survey for 16 years.

“It’s impossible to sugarcoat the findings of this survey,” said Siena College Research Institute Director Don Levy. “CEO confidence is down dramatically from a year age once again reaching the low point we saw in 2020 and greater now only than during the Great Recession of 2008.”

In a low-to-high index of business positivity, which sums up current and future views, CEO outlook is down to 68.8 from 94.4 last year. It was 68.7 during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

85% of CEOs said that inflation is having a moderately or substantially negative effect on profit margins. Only 14% believe the federal Inflation Reduction Act will help.

Attitudes toward government are low, according to the survey. Only 11% approve the state’s performance in the business sector and only 17% are confident in it within the next year.

More than half of respondents want state elected officials to focus on personal and business tax reform, along with spending cuts and disapprove of a minimum wage increase.

“We see the results of this poll showing that as a whole, employers are still concerned about major policies the state is considering that will adversely impact their business while also being frustrated about the lack of assistance and relief being shown to the business community,” said Heather Mulligan, President & CEO of the Business Council of New York State, Inc. in a statement.

About one-third of CEOs — down from 44% last year — plan to increase their workforce this year. More than two-thirds say that they can’t find adequate staffing, regardless.

What’s more, 75% report difficulties recruiting despite having higher wages. Some 53% reported similar concerns while having flexible work hours.

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil

Categories: Business, News, News, Schenectady County

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