As President of the Manufacturers Association of Upstate New York (MACNY ), I am often asked how the Upstate New York manufacturing sector is doing during such challenging times.  Clearly, our sector is no different than any other, and we have certainly seen our share of job losses, attributed mainly to a difficult business climate coupled with stiff global competition.  However, my response remains the same, because no matter how dire the circumstance, one thing remains certain: manufacturing, despite having endured difficult times throughout the years, continues to thrive and remains an integral component to our State and nation’s, and Upstate region’s economic vitality.

For Unshackle Upstate, their six dedicated partners, and the dozens of partnering business groups, the best part of representing Upstate business interests is that we represent people who, despite the challenging economic climate and ever increasing global competitiveness, want to remain here and operate their business here.  For MACNY specifically, a recent study of ours reflects this. The Manufacturing Research Institute of New York State, the policy and research arm of MACNY, commissioned Zogby International to survey 100 manufacturing executives from across New York State on what they thought of the business climate and of doing business in New York State. The results are sobering.  However, the underlying message is clear: they are here, they are doing business, and despite a difficult business climate, they want to continue doing business here.

Take a look at a few key points from the report.  First the bad news:

  • Nine in ten manufacturers across NYS have a negative outlook on the current state of manufacturing within New York
  • Three out of five surveyed reported that maintaining operations with NYS has worsened, attributing this to the state of the economy and taxes as major contributors.

And, the good news:

  • However, despite this negative outlook, nearly half surveyed stated that their ability to maintain their operations within NYS will improve
  • When asked about the benefits of operating in NYS, a combined 25% stated location, a strong workforce and the people are some of the best things about operations
  • And finally, a combined 61% of those surveyed report their company size has either remained the same or grown within the past five years

These numbers and outcomes indicate that when all is said and done, manufacturers remain in New York State, they are resilient and strong, and most importantly, want to be here.

This is why Unshackle Upstate is so important to our region.

Simply put, we as a region and business coalition need to work together to create a better business climate for manufacturers and businesses to be enabled to do what they do best: create quality products, generate revenue and significant dollars into their regions, and sustain and create good quality, family supporting jobs.

Stifling business costs such as the high taxes and the excessive costs associated with workers compensation are just some of many challenges Upstate businesses and residents are forced to deal with everyday in New York State.  Costs of healthcare, excessive regulation, and others are all added costs of doing business, that must be mitigated at the policy making level.  The high costs of doing business will continue to challenge the State’s business community, but these challenges are surmountable.  Collaboration among the state’s businesses through our Unshackle Upstate coalition, its many partners and friends, and government will surely produce positive results.  MACNY will continue to work with the partners of Unshackle in the 2012 legislative session for our ultimate goal of fiscal relief for residents and businesses alike.  Because as Unshackle Upstate is well aware, with the government, coalitions, businesses and workers all adapting to the ever-changing global economy, Upstate New York can and will be a place for significant economic opportunity in the 21st Century.