Economic Forecasters Share Continued Optimism

Posted on January 30, 2024

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Crowd at the 2024 Economic Forecast Breakfast

Momentum and Success of 2023 Carries Into 2024

Talent attraction and development will be critical to future success

Read Full Report | View Luke Tilley's Presentation | Read Rob Simpson's Remarks

 

SYRACUSE, NY – CenterState CEO hosted its popular Economic Forecast event to share insights into the region’s economic climate from the perspective of regional business leaders and economic experts.

During the event, CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson highlighted the positive momentum felt by the business community in this year’s Economic Forecast survey. The event’s keynote speaker, Luke Tilley, chief economist for Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors, Inc., presented a national economic outlook, with a focus on the drivers of U.S. economic and market outperformance, while questioning whether the prospects of maintaining its superior status may be imperiled by risks—such as massive debt and deficit spending—especially in a high interest rate environment.

“The U.S. economy continues to outperform for a host of reasons but mainly because of the dynamism of large and small businesses managing through the challenges of high labor costs and elevated interest rates,” said Tilley. “The main threat to the U.S.’s dominant global position is the high and rising debt burden of the federal government.”

Tilley's assessment of national economic trends provides important and relevant context for understanding the forces that are influencing the Central New York region's trajectory.

"As the nation outperforms others and disinflation continues, the conditions for our own economic progress will accelerate. This year’s forecasters felt the forces of continued momentum and shared an optimistic outlook, with increased confidence in the success of projects on the horizon,” said Simpson. “The economic success experienced by many Central New York businesses in 2023 is more proof that Micron’s historic investment was the launching point, not the limit, for this region’s potential. However, despite many successes, our forecasters are still fully aware that growth doesn’t come without challenges. They identified talent attraction as an ongoing pain point and potential deterrent to their growth, as well as concerns ranging from housing and health care system capacity, to supply chain issues. We must intentionally invest in our business ecosystem to address these challenges and take full advantage of all the opportunities that lie ahead."

The event marks the release of the 2024 Economic Forecast for Central New York. The report includes the insight and projections of CenterState CEO members and business leaders from across industry sectors, with perspectives on company growth, employment trends and the expected impacts of Micron Technology’s investment and other major initiatives taking place in the region on their own businesses, and on the region’s economy.

Through a survey conducted by third-party research firm Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc., forecasters reflected on the growth they experienced in 2023 and shared their predictions for 2024.

Of those surveyed, 89% have a positive outlook for Central New York’s economic health. Additionally, 85%, said they see the Central New York economy five years from now getting better.

Nearly 65% of respondents expect the strength of their business in 2024 will be “strong” or “very strong," with 49% experiencing a mix of positive momentum and challenges.

Notably, 79% of those surveyed believe the Central New York economy is transforming into a technology focused hub of innovation, advanced manufacturing and entrepreneurism. Furthermore, 68% have much better or somewhat better confidence than last year that public and private investments are coming to Central New York.

Survey respondents listed their top challenges as: availability of skilled personnel/workforce development, materials/supplies/equipment and employee benefits/costs. These three pressures were also identified as those most likely to impact growth in 2024.

Additionally, survey results found:

  • 72% expect sales or revenues to increase in 2024.
  • 56% expect to expand products and services this year, up about 2% from 2023.
  • 49% expect to increase capital investments this year, up 2% from 2023.
  • 55% expect an increase in jobs and hiring in 2024, down 17% from 2023 projections.
  • 68% stated innovation and technology will positively impact their business in 2024.

When asked to identify the most significant economic factors impacting Central New York businesses, forecasters noted:

  • Pressures on the health care system as the population increases.
  • Poverty and protecting the community’s most vulnerable populations, and the need for more investment in social service programs from state resources. Several commented on the staffing crisis in the social services sector, and the challenges of retention and recruitment.
  • Not all industries feel they are back to pre-COVID levels; some are still cutting back, or are needing to develop new programs following changes brought on by the pandemic.
  • Supply chain issues persist, with trouble accessing materials hindering growth.
  • Inadequate housing infrastructure, particularly with the anticipated influx of population expected for Central New York. Many voiced that housing is already a major issue, particularly for vulnerable populations; many worry the community is not yet prepared to meet the anticipated growth.
  • Infrastructure issues (clean energy, water, electricity), and a concern that the community will need to invest in upgrades to support growth.
  • Decreased fundraising for nonprofits and the arts, with several noting that attendance for the arts (theater, music, events) has not quite returned to pre-pandemic levels and is hurting revenue, combined with decreased donations and fundraising; and that consumers have less disposable income due to inflation and price increases.
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