Optimism rises in latest M&T biz survey

September 13, 2013 Updated Sep 13, 2013 at 9:20 AM EDT

By Allissa Kline, Buffalo Business First Reporter

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Optimism rises in latest M&T biz survey

September 13, 2013 Updated Sep 13, 2013 at 9:20 AM EDT

The near-term economic outlook among M&T Bank business customers is brighter than it has been in recent years as more business leaders see signs of a true, tangible recovery.

That's according to the bank's latest Economic Outlook Survey, which found that 45 percent of middle-market firms located within the bank's mid-Atlantic footprint believe the economy has improved in the past six months. That's up from 18 percent a year ago.

The Buffalo financial institution's commercial banking department surveyed senior managers and owners of privately-help businesses during the months of July and August. The survey was conducted via the Internet and received 413 responses, the bank said.

Among the highlights:

41 percent of middle-market firms, those with sales between $10 million and $500 million, expect the economic growth to accelerate during the next six months.
One-third of middle-market firms expect to hire during the next six months, while 4 percent expect to cut payroll.
Nearly 30 percent of Upstate New York firms expect their regional economy to outperform the United States economy as a whole during the second half of 2013.
36 percent expect occupancy rates will rise in coming months, while 19 percent expect those rates to fall.

Buffalo-based M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB) conducts economic outlook surveys twice a year. It is the largest bank in Western New York, with a total of $83 billion in assets companywide.

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