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LI businesses in survey express highest confidence since 2004

Rich Humann, CEO of H2M Architects and Engineers,

Rich Humann, CEO of H2M Architects and Engineers, speaks on a panel during a 2017 business outlook on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Credit: Barry Sloan

Business owners and executives polled in a yearly survey by a local accounting firm expressed their highest level of confidence in the Long Island economy since 2004, the firm said Thursday.

The poll of 200 owners and executives of businesses with 25 or more employees — conducted in October and November, with answers from both before and after the election — found confidence in the region’s economy averaged 6.3 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest level of confidence. That score compared with 6.1 in the 2015 survey. The confidence level was the highest since 2004, when it was 6.7.

The nonscientific survey was conducted by Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck & Co., a Hauppauge accounting firm, which hosted a breakfast and panel discussion Thursday at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury to present the results. Almost 400 people attended.

Thirty-five percent of respondents reported an increase in revenue of more than 5 percent in 2016. A year earlier, 29 percent reported a 5 percent or more gain in revenue.

Thirty-one percent said they posted an increase of 1 percent to 5 percent.

A decrease in revenue was reported by 18 percent, versus 16 percent in 2015.

The poll found that 38 percent of business owners increased their head count in 2016, while 21 percent cut jobs and 41 percent had no change. That compared with 34 percent, 23 percent and 43 percent, respectively, in 2015.

Health care was ranked the top Long Island growth industry by 42 percent of respondents, followed by technology at 30 percent.

Jeffrey Kraut, executive vice president for strategy and analytics at Northwell Health and one of the panelists at the event, said that technological advances and the aging population are creating a “renaissance in health care.”

Northwell Health forecasts a revenue increase of 13 percent to 14 percent in 2017, he said.

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