By Paul Matthews
For the second straight year, the 495/MetroWest Partnership’s 2014 Business Climate Survey shows a high rate of optimism in the business community about improving economic conditions in the year ahead. The survey showed that 69% of responding employers believed that the economy will improve over the coming year, and close to one-third plan on hiring, with 12% planning additional expansion.
First launched in 2013 by the 495/MetroWest Partnership, Framingham State University, and the business publication MetroWest495 BIZ, the Business Climate Survey was designed to gauge employer confidence in an economically crucial region of the state, with an annual payroll in excess of $19 billion.
Due to the interest in the findings by the private sector, developers, municipal officials, legislators, and others, this year’s survey had an even higher response rate and provided greater context on the region’s business climate.
The three factors most frequently cited in the survey for locating in 495/MetroWest were proximity to clients, affordability of real estate, and the skilled labor force. To provide context to these points, prior Partnership analyses have shown our region’s commercial real estate to have a 34% price advantage to submarkets closer to Boston, and half of our residents have college degrees, with nearly 20% having graduate degrees.
The 2014 survey was conducted in July, with additional outreach by the Corridor Nine Area Chamber, the Marlborough Regional Chamber, the MetroWest Chamber, the Milford Area Chamber, and the United Regional Chamber.
For a detailed analysis of survey results by Dr. Michael Harrison, Assistant Professor in FSU’s Business Department, as well as further background on the employer survey, go to www.495partnership.org. Additionally, detailed coverage of the survey results can be found in the August edition of MetroWest495 BIZ.
Paul Matthews is Executive Director of the 495/MetroWest Partnership