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New York manufacturing poll results are a mixed bag

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Arty Smokes
/
via Flickr
New York manufacturers are suffering from a split personality disorder.

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wxxi/local-wxxi-954558.mp3

Ask 100 people about anything and you're sure to get a few mixed messages.

But if the latest survey from the Manufacturers Alliance of New York State is any indication, that truism is especially true for local manufacturing executives.

Why? Well, when more than 60 percent of respondents say their company has grown or stayed the same size over a period of time that includes the worst recession since the Jazz Age, you'd think the overall opinion of the industry's health would be pretty positive.

But you'd be wrong. Of the 100 executives surveyed, fewer than 10 had anything positive to say about the current state of manufacturing in New York.

"Contradictory but important findings"

That's how Manufacturers Alliance President Randy Wolken puts it. His organization partnered with polling firm Zogby International to survey a cross-section of manufacturing companies from across the state.

The results were decidedly mixed.

Execs blamed high taxes, a sluggish economy and declining employment for some of their woes.

But it wasn't all bad. Local bosses seem convinced that it's just as difficult in other states to do business. More manufacturers said it's easier to do business in the Empire State (27 percent) than those who said it was harder (18 percent).

Further muddying the waters, last week's poll comes on the heels of a recent report by the New York Fed, which found "widespread optimism" about the near-term future of the state's manufacturing sector.

New York is the sixth largest manufacturing state in the nation, directly employing about 460,000 people statewide.

Wolken says manufacturing is an especially big deal in upstate New York. According to another report commissioned by the Manufacturers Alliance, 22 percent of all private sector wages in the Finger Lakes region come from manufacturing.

WXXI/Finger Lakes reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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