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Siena survey: Upstate NY CEOs pessimistic about business prospects this year

Siena College

Many CEO’s in Upstate New York say that economic conditions have worsened during the pandemic, and a number of them are still pessimistic for the rest of this year.

That’s according to a recent survey by Siena College which surveyed more than 1,000 business leaders from across the upstate area from January through March.

Don Levy is director of the Siena College Research Institute. He said this survey shows that 80% of CEOs say that economic conditions worsened since the beginning of the pandemic, 43% of them believe conditions will get worse this year, while 17% say conditions will remain about the same.

“The arithmetic is brutal. Overwhelmingly, they say that the cost of doing business is up, but my revenues, my profits, are down. So it has been a year of experiencing tremendous hardship and loss for most of upstate businesses,” Levy said.

He said only about 40% of the CEOs surveyed believe economic conditions in upstate New York will improve this year.

"At this point they are not very optimistic," Levy said. "We still have a significant number who are concerned there's going to be a national recession."

Levy does think that a number of these business leaders could see their outlook brighten later this year.

“I think with stimulus money out in the marketplace, with people being vaccinated, with more and more of our lives returning towards normal, that business will pick up and I think 2021 is going to be a little bit of a better year than (the CEOs) we interviewed in this survey, at least over the winter when we spoke to them, (had) predicted,” he said.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
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