The most striking statistic coming out of Western New York in a new Siena College Research Institute survey is the high percentage of CEOs who had already laid off workers, Don Levy, the institute’s director, said Friday.

Fifty-seven percent of the Western New York CEOs who took part in the survey have laid off workers; the number for all upstate New York surveyed was 40 percent.

“That’s one of the issues that so many businesses are grappling with, that they have a deep commitment to their employees,” Levy said. “And if (the businesses) don’t go back to work soon, (they) are of greater concern that they won’t go back next year.”

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Levy said almost all the Western New York layoffs were reported by CEOs in Erie and Niagara counties.

As reported by TAPinto Greater Olean, the survey also found that business leaders’ support for relaxing COVID-19 restrictions is higher in Western New York than other parts of upstate New York.

Levy said Western New York, employers feel as though they are a long way from the state government. Although the state capitol is in Albany, many CEOs feel statewide policies are more centered around New York City than Western New York.

“Relaxing restrictions makes more sense to CEOs in Western New York because they feel as though they live in a different place than New York City,” Levy said. “They may see the city and say, ‘That’s not happening here. I don’t see it.’ And that makes them more inclined to favor relaxed restrictions.”

Forty-six percent of upstate CEOs are confident that New York state government will take the appropriate steps to assist businesses to weather the impacts of COVID-19 while 50 percent are not very or not at all confident.

“State government has performed well up to this point in the eyes of many CEOs, but now they’re looking to what is next,” Levy said. “They’re looking for whether they will get any sort of tax relief, given what they’re going through. That will be very difficult from the state, which will be in a difficult situation with its own budget.”

Confidence in state government among Western New York business leaders was not as high. Forty percent of the CEOs in Western New York are confident the state will take appropriate actions to assist businesses; 57% are not very or not at all confident.

The survey, conducted from April 3 to 14, consisted of internet interviews with 307 business leaders from the Capital, the Central New York, the Finger Lakes region, the Mohawk Valley/Southern Tier region and the Western New York regions.

For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit  TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.

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