Pessimistic attitude about business climate prevails among Pa. executives

A recent survey of more than 360 business executives from across Pennsylvania found that a majority of executives are pessimistic about the outlook of the state's business climate.

Approximately 14 percent of executives said the business climate in the state had improved, compared to 12.6 percent in 2010, the year the country began to emerge from the financial crisis. Overall, however, more than 85 percent of executives said in the most recent survey that Pennsylvania's business climate did not change or worsened in the six months prior.

Additionally, the survey found that more than 19 percent of executives expect the business climate to improve in six months - relatively unchanged from 2013 and down from 24.5 percent in 2010.

Business executives polled in the survey said they had increased employment over the past six months to 14.6 percent, following declines in 2012 and 2013 after an increase to 22.3 percent in 2011.

The Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, however, said the survey showed many Pennsylvania executives maintained their employment over the past six months. Approximately 66 percent said their firms did not change employment, while only 18.2 percent said they had decreased employment - the lowest figure in the past five surveys.

The institute said that while the results of the survey are "not very optimistic," they reflect a trend that dates back to the end of the recession.

"Those in the know - business decision-makers - reinforce what the data has been suggesting, that the Pennsylvania economy, has been moving ahead, albeit slowly over the last couple of years," the Allegheny Institute said in a policy briefing.