Siena Research Institute releases its annual Business Leader Survey. It asked 651 Upstate New York CEOs what they think about doing business in New York State. In a special edition of the Capital Region Business Beat, Jon Dougherty breaks down the numbers.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The results are in.
In terms of CEO confidence across Upstate New York, it's high.
"Last year was a year that just simply didn't live up to expectations. This year, our business leaders most especially here in the Capital Region are feeling considerably better," said Siena Research Institute Director Don Levy.
Of the 651 CEOs questioned, 76 percent said they're optimistic where the economy is going or it has stabilized. Only 24 percent said conditions were worse than last year.
Confidence levels were the highest in the Capital Region where 85 percent said they're at the same level or higher. It was the highest rating in the seven year history of the Business Leader Survey.
"It's a diversified economy that never really sunk as low as some areas," Levy said. "So now with growth taking place there's a really interesting and exciting level of anticipation."
When it came to the workforce, only 26 percent of Capital Region companies said they're planning to hire in 2014. Ten percent anticipated layoffs.
For those looking for work, less than half of the CEOs said there was an ample supply of properly trained applicants with technical, writing, verbal, and other skills.
"It is really quite sobering because there was not a single one of those traits that a majority of the CEOs gave job applicants excellent or good grades," said Levy. "There was a tendency to say they're fair at best."
The CEOs were also asked about the controversial healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act and how it has impacted their companies.
• 69% said it's had a negative impact on their businesses.
• 32% have already decreased benefits to cut costs.
• 28% have lowered their contributions.
• 24% have hired more part-time workers.
• 18% reduced the number of hours some employees work.
"One of the things drawing them back is the fact they're going to have to supply new employees with healthcare," Levy said. "They're afraid of the costs and they see it as a negative drag on their business."
Despite ups and downs, the Siena Research Institute said this year's survey was one of the most positive in recent years.
"It's not going to be an easy ride to get to that light at the end of the tunnel but it's there and I think these numbers and the attitudes of the CEOs and the reality on the ground is pointing to growth and strength in the economy that will serve us all well," Levy said.
For more on the survey go to www.siena.edu/sri.
And remember you can watch the Capital Region Business Beat Thursdays and Sundays on Time Warner Cable News.