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Survey: Despite Economic Woes, Nearly 90 Percent of Regional Businesses Expect Employment Levels to Increase or Remain the Same in 2010

Health care costs No. 1 concern, according to Marvin and Company/University at Albany School of Business 24th Annual Business Climate Survey

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

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B. Lodge & Co. Clothing Retailer in Albany N.Y.

Most Capital Region firms expect employment levels to either increase or remain the same in 2010 according to the 24th annual business survey.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 23, 2010) -- Although two out of three Capital Region businesses characterize the area economy as being stagnant or recessionary, 89.7 percent expect to either increase or keep the same the number of workers in the coming year, according to the 24th Annual Business Climate Survey.

The survey, compiled by Marvin and Company and the University at Albany School of Business, shows 45.7 percent of firms expect business will increase for 2010, a nearly 16 percent increase from 2009 figures. Overall, only 12.6 percent expect a decrease in business, while 87.4 percent of companies expect to increase or maintain business levels. In 2009, 27 percent expected to see a decline, while in 2008, only 8 percent of Capital Region companies expected a decline in business.

The outlook for future growth is significantly reduced from previous years, although up slightly from 2009 results. Only 34.8 percent of businesses expect the Capital Region economy to prosper, a 5 percent increase from a year ago, while 44.9 percent expect it will experience little or no growth and 20.3 percent expect the economy to struggle.

For the 14th time in 15 years, health care costs are the most important issue for area firms. In 2009, the national economy was cited as the No. 1 issue of importance for businesses, whereas health care costs topped the list of employer concerns in each of the previous 13 surveys. Similarly, while 73.6 percent of firms cited the stock market decline as having a negative impact on business in 2009, only 44.2 percent of firms have indicated market changes from a year ago as having either a significant or moderate impact.

UAlbany President George M. Philip, School of Business Dean Donald Siegel, Marvin & Co. Director Kevin McCoy

From left, UAlbany President George M. Philip, School of Business Dean Donald Siegel, Marvin & Co. Director Kevin McCoy. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

"Capital Region businesses are clearly still feeling the effects of the economic downturn from 2008, while recovery efforts have been slow to realize there are many positives in the results," said Kevin J. McCoy, CPA and director, Marvin and Company. "Employment indicators are better from a year ago, and more businesses see the economy as recovering or stagnant as opposed to recessionary."

Regional firms are also still waiting for the boost from technology-based businesses moving to the Capital Region. Only 22.4 percent of businesses cite the technology sector as having a significant or moderate impact, a slight increase from 2009. However, more than two thirds of respondents see at least a "little" impact from technology, while 32.2 percent cite "no impact at all."

"The Capital Region appears to be poised for recovery," said Donald Siegel, dean of the University at Albany School of Business. "Our bright employment outlook is likely to improve, as companies such as Global Foundries and M. W. Zander expand in the region. This will stimulate more opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Our results also strongly suggest that the business climate in the Capital Region is much better than in other parts of the state and country." 

Now in its 24th year, the survey was developed to respond to the chambers and 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 an approximately 10 percent return rate, the survey offers valuable insights that can be used by Marvin and Company, the chambers, economic developers, government leaders and businesses.

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