Bank’s survey finds Pa. businesses more pessimistic

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PHILADELPHIA – First Niagara Bank said Wednesday its fourth annual survey of Pennsylvania business leaders found many private business leaders believe results in 2012 did not meet their expectations thus lowering their confidence in what they see ahead for the economy in 2013.


But even with this lower confidence, the bank said in a press release, more of the state’s business leaders say they plan in 2013 to increase their workforces than decrease, and to invest in fixed asset purchases such as property and equipment for their companies.


This year’s survey results were based on responses from 715 leaders of private businesses in the state’s 10 major metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Altoona, Harrisburg, Erie, Lancaster, Reading and York.


“Many Pennsylvania business executives indicated their dissatisfaction with how the economy played out in 2012 for them versus their earlier expectations, so they have adopted a more critical outlook moving ahead in 2013,” said Robert Kane, Eastern Pennsylvania regional president for First Niagara. “They are continuing to focus on growing their businesses but in a financially realistic way given the ‘new normal’ they have been dealing with.”


The survey found an equal number of company leaders, 32 percent, expect business conditions to improve or to worsen in the Pennsylvania economy in 2013, while another 36 percent say they will remain about the same. Last year, 42 percent expected better business conditions for 2012 and 20 percent predicted they would worsen.


Responding to the survey conducted by the Siena College Research Institute were chief executive officers, chief financial officers and senior managers of private companies with $5 million to $200 million in annual sales in the service, manufacturing, retail, financial, engineering/construction, wholesale and distribution, and food and beverage industries.


“Even as their confidence levels have dropped from last year, these business leaders are still primed to grow their businesses as the economy improves,” said Todd Moules, Western Pennsylvania regional president for First Niagara.


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