The number of service firms in the metropolitan area and factories across New York State saying they expect to spend more on improvements to their operations is at its highest level since 2012, according to new polls.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that nearly 46 percent of retailers and other service businesses it surveyed this month said they plan to spend more on computers and other upgrades this year than they did in 2016. It was the highest percentage in six years.
In a separate poll of manufacturers, the New York Fed found 41 percent plan to spend more on capital improvements than they did in 2016. That’s the highest in five years.
The New York Fed polled about 100 factories across the state and about 100 service firms on Long Island, in New York City and its northern suburbs.
“Substantially more respondents planned to hike than to reduce overall capital spending in 2017 — by a margin of 46 to 20 percent among service-sector firms, and 41 to 24 percent among manufacturers,” the bank said last week.
The most common capital investment planned by service firms was for software — 47 percent. Among manufacturers, the most common was noncomputer equipment, cited by 29 percent.
“The biggest driver of increased investment was favorable trends in sales and demand” among manufacturers, the New York Fed said. “Among service-sector respondents, long-term plans and investment schedules were the most widely mentioned driver of increased investment.”
New York Fed officials also noted “a surprisingly large proportion of manufacturers still cited the need for energy-saving equipment as a factor driving capital spending,” even though energy prices dropped over much of the past 12 months.