Economic Forecasters Optimistic about 2015

Posted on December 1, 2015

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CenterState CEO: Region Must Think Big, Work Collaboratively to Maximize Opportunities and Create Real Impact

More than 600 people attended CenterState CEO’s sold-out 2015 Economic Forecast Breakfast at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at Oncenter, today in Syracuse. Business and community leaders gathered to gain insights into the current economic climate in the region and to hear an analysis of the economic trends that are impacting business.

Manpower’s Rebecca Dernberger’s keynote address provided attendees with a detailed examination of workforce trends, one of the key market levers of the economy.

“The most successful communities are those that understand the direct correlation between economic development and workforce development,” said Dernberger, vice president and general manager of Manpower’s Northeast Division. “Manpower has been involved with CenterState New York for several years now, and it is apparent that the community understands the importance of this connection. Manpower’s recent Employment Outlook for this area was very respectable – 78% of those interviewed intend to maintain their current workforce.”

The event also marks the release of CenterState CEO’s 2015 Economic Forecast Report, which includes key market data from Manpower on industry, occupation, employment, and earnings expectations through 2018. Complied as a single source of strategic information across the 12-county CenterState New York region, the report presents the perspectives and projections of more than 230 CenterState CEO members and business leaders from 14 industry sectors.

Through a survey and focus groups conducted by third-party research firm Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc., forecasters reflected on the growth they experienced in 2014 and shared their predictions for 2015:

• 63% experienced growth in 2014, up from 58% in 2013.
• 71% anticipate increased sales or revenue in 2015; up 3% from 2014 projections.
• 59% expect to expand product and services in 2015, up 6% from 2014 projections.
• 54% expect profits to increase in 2015 up 5% from 2014 projections.
• 51% expect an increase in jobs and hiring over 2015, up 12% from 2014 projections.

The 2015 CenterState Economic Forecast additionally identified several opportunities and reasons for optimism across sectors:

• New start ups are growing, resulting in a thriving entrepreneurial culture in the region.
• Significant investments are creating a newly resurgent downtown.
• Emerging trends and new offerings are breathing life into traditional industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.
• Investments in new industries such as unmanned aerial systems will create jobs and provide a much needed boost to the regional economy.

The optimism shared by CenterState CEO Forecasters was compared to trends happening at the national level. A report shared by M&T Bank’s Economist Gary Keith noted several indications that the U.S. economy is gaining momentum:

• This year, growth is expected to average 3.0 percent - the strongest performance in a decade.
• On an annualized basis, real GDP growth has exceeded 3.0 percent in four of the past five quarters. The last time we experienced this kind of sustained growth was 2005.
• Last year, more than 2.5 million private sector jobs were created, the highest number since 1999.
• Additional employment growth is expected with 4.8 million job openings reported in October (latest available data), nearly one million more than in 2013 and well above the long-term average since 2000.
• Corporate profits also remain at historically high levels, allowing firms to increase capex spending and hiring as customer demand continues to heat up.

However, additional data and insight from forecasters also bring to light the challenges that remain for the region.

“The U.S. economy is gaining momentum, with 2015 growth slated to be the strongest growth in a decade,” said Gary Keith, regional economist for M&T Bank. “While there is still some slack that needs to be absorbed before all Americans can feel like the Recession is behind them, the national economy at long last appears to be on solid footing. In order for the CenterState region to fully participate in this national upturn, more needs to be done to reshape and expand the regional economy.”

Forecasters also expressed the need to address several consistent challenges to their business growth:

• Attracting and retaining skilled talent.
• Managing the increasing costs of benefits.
• Navigating an increasingly complex local, state and national regulatory environment.
• Political gridlock.
• Access to capital.

In his remarks, CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson pointed to several initiatives underway that are having an impact on these broader challenges. He also highlighted opportunities for the region being driven by a proposal by Governor Cuomo to create an Upstate Revitalization Fund, which would support the economic revitalization of Upstate communities.

“With the Governor’s challenge to Upstate communities to develop robust, strategic, and data-driven revitalization plans, we have a vested interest in working collaboratively to develop shared priorities that invest in new and existing industries with potential to attract private investment and create good-paying, sustainable jobs; build our human capital and connect people with the jobs we create; leverage our region’s academic and research excellence; and invest in the infrastructure needed to grow a modern and lasting economy,” said Simpson.

In closing the event, Simpson charged attendees to be an active part of the conversation to develop that plan by sharing their ideas publically using the hashtag #ThinkBigCNY. That conversation can be followed on Twitter.

The complete 2015 Economic Forecast Report for CenterState New York can be found at www.centerstateceo.com.

The CenterState Economic Forecast’s is presented by M&T Bank. Corporate Sponsors include Dermody, Burke & Brown CPAs LLC, Time Warner Cable Business Class, Manpower, Inc. and RMS; Media Sponsors are Syracuse Media Group, News Radio 570 WSYR Now on 106.9 FM, Business Journal News Network, and Visual Technologies.

The 2015 CenterState Economic Forecast examined 14 sectors of the region’s economy:
• Agribusiness
• Banking, Finance & Insurance
• Construction & Real Estate
• Energy & Environmental Systems/Services
• Government & Economic Development
• Health Care
• Higher Education
• Human Services & Not-for-Profits
• Manufacturing
• Retail
• Small Business & Professional Services
• Technology, Utilities & Communications
• Tourism & the Arts
• Transportation

About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is 2,000 companies, large and small, working together to increase business competitiveness, community prosperity, and regional growth. We deliver results-driven programs including New York’s most modern Chamber of Commerce and nationally-recognized economic and community development planning. Based in Syracuse, convening members and partners across twelve counties, CenterState CEO advances the region with member-focused solutions for success. www.centerstateceo.com

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