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What are employers thinking about the local business climate?

Buffalo Niagara Partnership

For the first time ever, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce, has released a survey showing how employers view the area's business climate.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership polled its members and found more than 80% of respondents have a favorable or very favorable perception of the local business climate. Partnership President and CEO, Dottie Gallagher-Cohen says, part of what employers are recognizing are real improvements including growth on the waterfront and the Medical Campus. But, at the same time, a majority feel New York state's business climate has not changed or is becoming less business friendly.

"It is this constant barrage of, you know, the new cost or expense, and regulations really coming from Albany, that just are creating that sense of concern that we really are not foundationally changing the business climate here," and Gallagher-Cohen says, "the state ranks 49th out of 50 in business unfriendliness."

Respondents rank federal and state regulations as their biggest impediment to growth. Followed by market conditions and finding/retaining qualified talent. Despite their concerns, over the past year, more than half expanded their workforce. Nearly three-quarters saw sales or revenue increase.  And more hiring is expected.

"Sixty-six percent are going to add new employees. But 64 percent plan to expand products and services. That means that folks are bullish on their business and that they're making investments and that really bodes well for our region as we move forward," Gallagher-Cohen said.  

The survey will help shape the Partnership's government affairs work and also build the group's annual Advocacy Agenda which will be unveiled in January.   

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