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CenterState CEO report: 55 percent of area firms expect to boost hiring this year, down slightly from last year

By Eric Reinhardt


Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, addresses the crowd of 600 at 2019 Economic Forecast for Central New York breakfast event Wednesday at the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse. (Photo credit: CenterState CEO Twitter page)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A new report from CenterState CEO finds just over half of nearly 200 contributors surveyed (55 percent) expect an increase in jobs and hiring in 2019, down 3 percent from last year’s projections.

At the same time, three-quarters of those surveyed anticipate increased sales or revenue in 2019, down 1 percent from the 2018 projections.

That’s according to the 2019 Economic Forecast for Central New York report that CenterState CEO released on Wednesday. Baldwinsville–based Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) conducted the survey.

The report includes the perspectives and projections of CenterState CEO members and business leaders from 18 industry sectors, and includes data from Manpower Inc. and CenterState CEO on exporting, industry, and employment trends.

Besides the revenue and hiring projections, the survey found 60 percent expect to expand products and services in 2019, up 7 percent from 2018 projections. And 49 percent expect to increase capital investments, up 5 percent from 2018 projections.

The report also found 75 percent of respondents describing their outlook for the strength of their business in 2019 as “strong or very strong.”

The organization released the report during its annual Economic Forecast breakfast held Wednesday at the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse. More than 600 people attended the breakfast event.

Regional outlook

In the event’s keynote address, Gary Keith, regional economist with M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB), discussed regional economic trends from the past year, and the outlook for 2019.

Keith indicated the Central New York region can expect another year of “modest but steady growth relative to the national norm,” per the CenterState CEO release.

“Although the U.S. economy is expected to slow from 2018’s robust performance, growth should remain positive in the coming year, helping to propel the region forward once again in 2019,” Keith said. “However, with local and national unemployment rates dipping toward generational lows, competition for talent will continue to intensify. Expanding the pool of productive, well-trained workers available to meet employer needs will be critically important. Collaborative public and private sector efforts to address labor-supply shortages and workforce-skill gaps is essential to continuing the region’s economic progress.”

Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, “challenged” attendees to “embrace” a civic-leadership role to “help ensure continued growth” in the year ahead.

“A robust year of growth and investments in 2018 has set the stage for a strong 2019,” Simpson said in the release. “The challenge now is how we react to and maximize this opportunity, while bringing more people in our community into the workforce to be part of our economy’s growth. It will require a collaborative, multi-dimensional approach, and acknowledgement that attracting and retaining talent is as critical to our economic success as attracting and retaining business. It will also require us to deploy innovative solutions to expand our existing labor pool. With a shared vision there is much reason for optimism in 2019.”

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