Marvin & Co./UAlbany Business Climate Survey: Capital Region Firms Prospering Despite Concerns over Health Care Costs

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 26, 2014) -- More than 91 percent of Capital Region firms are expecting business to expand or remain stable in 2014 according to the 28th annual Marvin and Company/University at Albany School of Business Business Climate Survey. The survey, which encompasses industries such as professional services, retail, construction/engineering and the service industry from Columbia County to the Adirondack area, provides a barometer of the regional economic outlook as well as the top concerns for regional businesses.

The Business Climate Survey results were presented during a news conference held for the first time at UAlbany's new School of Business Building, a $64 million facility opened in the fall of 2013.

Among the highlights, more than 81 percent of firms saw business increase or remain stable in 2013, nearly a two percent increase from 2012. Additionally, nearly 69 percent of respondents characterize the Capital Region economy as recovering or prospering, an improvement of 5 percent since 2012.

UAlbany Senior Rebecca Shost
UAlbany senior Rebecca Shost helped compile the data for the 2014 Business Climate Survey. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Health care costs, the primary issue for Capital Region businesses for 17 of the past 19 years, remain the top concern for Capital Region employers followed by taxes, the national economy, and government regulations. Correspondingly, nearly 64 percent of respondents believe the Affordable Care Act has increased costs either to their business or employees, with approximately 22 percent noting the legislation required significant changes to health insurance coverage. About 15 percent of respondents also indicated they changed insurance providers as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

"More than 50 percent of respondents expect the Capital Region’s economy to continue to prosper in the next several years despite ongoing concern regarding health care costs, taxes, the national economy and government regulations," said Kevin McCoy, CPA and director, Marvin and Company, P.C. "Regional firms are continuing to feel some boost from the technology sector with more than 40 percent having a significant or moderate impact. Obviously, the technology sector of the Capital Region continues to help the other businesses in our economy."

Now in its 28th year, the survey was developed to respond to chambers and prospective clients seeking to assess the regional business marketplace and its affects on their contracting, expanding and hiring. The survey offers valuable insights that can be used by Marvin and Company, the chambers, economic developers, government leaders and businesses.

In order to offer the best barometer, Marvin and Company and the UAlbany School of Business compile the business climate survey in conjunction with local chambers of commerce to discern the concerns and projections area businesses have for the year ahead. School of Business Associate Professor Jakov Crnkovic worked with UAlbany undergraduate student Rebecca Shost to design the data form. Shost, a senior from Clifton Park, is majoring in Information Technology Management, and will utilize the data for her undergraduate research project.

"The Business Climate Survey highlights how Capital Region firms continue to prosper, despite significant concerns about the rising cost of health care," said Dr. Donald Siegel, dean of UAlbany's School of Business. "The results showcase the resiliency of area businesses, stimulated by regional and federal investment in high technology, innovation and entrepreneurship."

Learn more about UAlbany's School of Business.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.