Business leaders in the Capital Region are more positive about the economy and their ability to grow in 2014 than their peers across the rest of the state. But they also have concerns about the lack of skills among today’s college graduates, burdensome industry regulations and the impact of the Affordable Care Act on their businesses.
At the second annual State of the Region breakfast on Tuesday, Siena Research Institute Director Don Levy told a crowd of more than 100 people at the Century House in Latham that he had much more positive news to report here than anywhere else in upstate New York. That’s because the Capital Region leads upstate in its optimism regarding the current and future business climate, according to results of Siena’s seventh Upstate New York Business Leaders Survey.
“I’ve been to Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse so far, and really the very best news in this survey is right here in the Capital Region,” he said.
Siena interviewed 651 CEOs across the four regions of upstate New York, including 157 in the Capital Region. Overall, CEOs reported that they expect revenue and profits to increase in 2014, with the most optimistic expectations in the Capital Region. About 25 percent of CEOs in upstate New York say their primary strategy to achieving profitability in 2014 will be to cut costs. Only 15 percent of CEOs say as much in the Capital Region.
“It’s very difficult, we’ve found over the years, to cut your way to success,” said Levy. “In the Capital Region, not only do CEOS think things are getting better, but the rate at which they say they anticipate increased revenues and profits and their likelihood to invest in fixed assets are considerably higher.”
Interestingly, consumer confidence is lower than CEO confidence in the Capital Region, Levy said.
“So don’t take it personally if your cash register doesn’t ring as much as you would like,” he said.