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Despite Economy, 82 Percent of Capital Region Business Owners do not Expect to Lay Off Workers in 2009

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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School of Business Dean Dr. Donald Siegel

School of Business Dean Dr. Donald Siegel addresses the crowd during the unveiling of the Marvin and Company and the University at Albany School of Business' 23rd Annual Business Climate Survey. (Photo Karl Luntta)

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 25, 2009) -- Although 80 percent of Capital Region businesses characterize the area economy as being stagnant or recessionary, 82 percent do not expect to reduce the number of workers in the coming year, according to the 23rd Annual Business Climate Survey.

The survey, compiled by Marvin and Company and the University at Albany School of Business, shows only about 30 percent of businesses expect business will increase for 2009, a 24 percent decline from 2008 figures. Overall, 73 percent of companies expect to increase or maintain business levels, while 27 percent expect to see a decline. In 2008, only 8 percent of Capital Region companies expected a decline in business.

The outlook for future growth is also significantly reduced from previous years. Only 29.8 percent of businesses expect the Capital Region economy to prosper, 42.3 percent expect it will experience little or no growth and 27.9 percent expect the economy to struggle.

"Capital Region businesses are clearly feeling the pinch of the stock market collapse and the economic downturn," said Kevin J. McCoy, CPA and managing director, Marvin and Company.

Only 37.1 percent of companies are more optimistic about the economy since the November 2008 election, and 73.6 percent of organizations have seen their business impacted by the stock market decline. In fact, the national economy is the number one issue of importance for businesses as they enter 2009. This is the first time in 14 years that healthcare costs did not top the list of employer concerns.

Small businesses, Albany, NY

Some 80 percent of Capital Region businesses characterize the area economy as being stagnant or recessionary, yet 82 percent do not expect to reduce the number of workers in the coming year, according to the 23rd Annual Business Climate Survey. (Photo Michael Farrell, Times Union)

The infusion of technology-based businesses in the Capital Region has had only a minor impact on organizations, according the survey results. In 2008, 27.9 percent of companies said technology-based businesses either significantly or moderately impacted their organization. In 2009, the survey found only 22.1 percent of companies felt the same way, whereas 77.9 found that technology-based companies had either very little impact or no impact at all.

"The growth of technology-based companies in the Capital Region has not apparently spilled over to other sectors yet,” said Dr. Donald Siegel, dean of the University at Albany School of Business. “However,  prospects for entrepreneurs in a variety of industries are likely to increase  as companies such as AMD expand in the region.  The economic downturn is also a tremendous opportunity for many entrepreneurs.  Our results also suggest that the business climate in the Capital Region is much better than in other parts of the state and country.” 

Now in its 23rd year, the survey was developed to respond to prospective clients seeking to assess the regional business marketplace and how it will affect their contracting, expanding and hiring. In order to offer the best barometer, Marvin and Company and the UAlbany School of Business compile a business climate survey in conjunction with the local Chambers of Commerce to discern what concerns and projections area businesses have for the year ahead. With a greater than 10 percent return rate, the survey offers valuable insight that can be used by Marvin and Company, the Chambers, economic developers, government leaders and businesses.

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