Western Pennsylvania business leaders are beginning to look more positively on conditions affecting the overall state economy and their own industries in 2010.
First Niagara Bank commissioned the Siena College Research Institute to survey the CEO’s of 222 for-profit companies with annual sales between 5 million and 200 million dollars. Todd Moules, Western Pennsylvania Regional President of First Niagara, says the CEO's expressed "guarded confidence" in the economic recovery..."they're starting to see some sunshine after the storm."
45% said they expect business conditions for the economy to improve this year, 27% expect conditions to remain the same and 29% said they would worsen.
Institute Director Tom Levy says the level of confidence is highest among CEO’s in financial services, a little less so in manufacturing and sales, and lowest among those in construction, engineering and the food and beverage industry, but still the optimism is rising in all industry sectors.
But that optimism isn’t high enough for a big hiring surge. Only 17% said they planned to add workers this year, 14% anticipate layoffs and the remainder, no change in the workforce.
Levy says despite indications that the "tide is turning" among business leaders, they are still hesitant to hire because they are waiting for consumer spending to increase, but the problem is consumer confidence is not high right now.