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Polls: 6 in 10 retailers, service firms, factories plan to expand payroll

A sign outside the Pizzaiola Pizzeria Restaurant on

A sign outside the Pizzaiola Pizzeria Restaurant on Deer Park Avenue in North Babylon on Friday, Nov. 12, advertises tositions available for wait staff and delivery drivers. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

About six in 10 retailers, service firms and factories plan to expand their work force in the next year despite continued supply-chain problems, according to polls released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The bank said 61% of retailers and other service firms in the metropolitan area expect to increase the number of people that they employ within the next 12 months. That compares with 35% a year ago, 38% in November 2019 and 49% in November 2018.

In a separate poll, 56% of manufacturers across the state said they will add to their payroll. That compares with 44% a year ago and in November 2018 and 38% in November 2019.

The New York Fed surveyed about 125 factories and about 200 service firms Nov. 2-9, with Long Islanders participating in both polls.

When asked why they plan to do more hiring, "high expected sales growth was ranked most important by the largest number of respondents in both surveys, followed by an overworked staff," the bank said on Tuesday.

"A sizable number of respondents cited a need for skills not possessed by current staff as an important factor, and a sizable number of service firms cited an improved financial position," the bank continued.

The planned hiring comes as 38% of service firms and 50% of factories said the size of their work force has returned to pre-pandemic levels or is higher. Another 25% of each group predicted their employment level would reach pre-pandemic levels by June 2022.

Six in 10 of retailers, service firms and factories "reported difficulty in filling positions," the New York Fed said.

Both groups continue to be pessimistic about supply chain shortages.

"Slightly over 40% of service firms and just over half of manufacturers said they expect the availability of supplies to worsen further," the bank said.

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