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Upstate New York CEOs think the economy is bad according to this new survey

 Downtown Rochester skyline view.
Max Schulte
Downtown Rochester skyline view.

A new survey from the Siena College Research Institute on how CEOs across Upstate New York are feeling about their business prospects, shows that many of them are not very optimistic.

According to the institute’s director, Don Levy, 67% of the CEOs say that business conditions are getting worse, 29% say conditions are staying the same and only 4% of them believe business prospects are getting better.

Levy said that negativity from the upstate CEOs on how they view their current and future business conditions is the lowest it's been in the 17 years Siena has been doing this survey.

Levy said among the complaints from many of the business officials are issues about how state government is run and how it’s affecting commerce.

“They continue to feel, and this is anecdotal, but some of them actually write in the margins on the survey that they’re sick and tired of being Albany’s piggy bank,” said Levy. “So they feel as though they’re getting insufficient support and they are over regulated and over taxed.”

Levy said the fallout from higher inflation is also still a drag on their businesses, according to the recent survey.

“They feel trapped. On the one hand, they feel as though, for example, rising supplier costs are having an impact on them,” said Levy. “But when we say what are you going to do this year, we see that now, over a third say that in order to try to make a profit, they’re going to raise their prices, so they feel beat up by inflation.”

Levy said that business leaders in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region are not quite as pessimistic compared to other regions of New York, especially as they look to what the future holds for their companies.

But he said like in other parts of the state, local business leaders are concerned about finding enough qualified workers to fill available job openings.

“83% of the CEOs that we talked to in the Rochester area say there just is not an ample supply of trained workers ready to step in and contribute, day one,” Levy noted, “and that’s one of the factors that they see as a significant stumbling block to their success at this point.”

On the plus side, Levy said the recent survey showed that business leaders in the Rochester area give high marks to tourist attractions in the Finger Lakes, as one of the big positives for the region.