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Survey: upstate businesses less optimistic about economy in 2013

Business executives from across upstate New York are less confident about the economy going into 2013, an annual survey has found.

While the survey, conducted by First Niagara Bank and Siena College Research Institute, did find some positive indicators, it didn't change the impression that companies in upstate New York are fed up with the sluggish recovery.

Among the executives surveyed, there was a four percent increase, to 34 percent, in the feeling that the economy will get worse this year. The same number as last year, 34 percent, think it will improve. That change caused the number who think it will stay the same to drop four points to 32 percent.

Many executives reported another year of flat revenue increases as the reason for their diminished optimism.

The attitude comes from what's become the "new normal" for the economy, says David Kavney, a market executive for First Niagara.

"It’s frustration with the continued stalled economy, or what they perceive to be a stalled economy. And lack of that material uptick that we all hope is going to be coming in the fallowing year and hasn’t come to fruition as of yet," he says.

Kavney pointed out that a number of companies still say they plan on investing in capital projects - like new construction - this year. Many of those, he says, are projects that had been put on hold during the economic downturn.

Planned hiring in the calendar year was a mixed bag. Twenty-three percent of Syracuse-area companies signaled planned hiring in 2013, up two percent from last year's survey, but there was also a 2 percent increase - to 15 percent - that say they plan to reduce staffing.

The full survey and regional breakdowns can be found here.

On Thursday, CenterState CEO, a major economic booster organization for central New York, will release its economic forecast for 2013.