Economy & Business
9:00 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

1 in 4 Western PA Business Leaders Plans to Add Jobs

A survey of the state's business leaders indicates confidence has fallen, but in the Pittsburgh region, they remains optimistic.  

The First Niagara Survey of Business Leaders conducted by Siena College Research Institute shows CEO confidence statewide is more negative than it is positive for the first time in four years.  The survey included 715 corporate leaders from various industry sectors in the state including retail, financial, and manufacturing.

37% of Western Pennsylvania business executives think the state economy will improve in 2013, compared to 32% of business leaders statewide.

First Niagara's Western Pennsylvania Regional President, Todd Moules, said although the business leaders in the state as a whole are a little more pessimistic than they were last year, the actions of these business owners or executives don't line up with their confidence level.

 "More are planning on hiring more people than are saying they're going to reduce and more people are investing in their fixed assets [like] buildings and equipment than to cut back." Moules said. 

23% of business leaders in Western PA say they expect to "moderately increase" their labor force; 60% don't expect any changes; and, 15% say they will cut jobs.

Moules said talks of the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, and healthcare over the past six months could have contributed to the pessimism across the state.

"There's just a lot of hurdles out there to really get the economy moving, so I think that's what concerns the business leaders" Moules said.  "But, I look at their actions and their actions say they're investing in their business, and if they're investing in their business they're doing so because they see a positive return for them."

As for Western Pennsylvania, Moules says the optimistic trend is expected to continue because compared to other regions, the area is doing well in the economy and employment.  The numbers indicate southwestern Pennsylvania is the most optimistic about the economy out of all the markets associated with First Niagara.