M&T biz customers optimistic about economic recovery

March 20, 2014 Updated Mar 20, 2014 at 9:14 AM EDT

By Allissa Kline, Buffalo Business First

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M&T biz customers optimistic about economic recovery

March 20, 2014 Updated Mar 20, 2014 at 9:14 AM EDT


There's an ongoing sense of momentum and optimism among executives of mid-sized business, many of whom expect economic growth to accelerate during the next six months.

That's the message from M&T Bank's first-quarter 2014 Economic Outlook Survey, which shows that 41 percent of middle-market firms feel the economy has improved in the past six months. That's an improvement from last year when 36 percent of mid-sized firms reported similar economic outlooks.

M&T Bank surveys business customers twice a year to gauge their expectations about the state of the economy. The latest results stem from an Internet survey conducted by the Buffalo bank in January and February. The results are based on 499 responses.

Some of the highlights from the survey:

Nearly half of the middle-market firms expect U.S. economic growth to pick up speed within the next six months, while more than half expect their unit sales to improve.

M&T Bank is the largest bank in Western New York. It operates in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, employing more than 15,000 people company-wide.

In terms of hiring, 31 percent of respondents expect to hire workers over the next six months, while 4 percent expect to reduce payroll.
Capital expenditures on equipment and software will rise, as 45 percent of firms plan to increase capital-expenditure spending. That's up from 37 percent a year ago.