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NY Fed survey: Rising health, benefits costs worry employers

In two surveys released April 18, 2017 by

In two surveys released April 18, 2017 by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (shown above), manufacturers and service firms said their greatest problem is the cost of employee benefits. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

The rising cost of employee health insurance and other benefits is the biggest problem that factories across New York State and service businesses in the metropolitan area face, according to two new polls by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

A survey of about 100 manufacturers in the state found that nearly four in 10 said employee benefit costs are “a major problem” for them, the New York Fed said Tuesday.

A separate survey of about 100 retailers and other service firms on Long Island, in New York City and its northern suburbs found employee benefit costs were a top concern. More than three in 10 said it was “a major problem.”

The polls were conducted by the bank earlier this month and released Tuesday.

The cost of employee benefits has topped the list of problems every year since the New York Fed began the surveys in 2011.

This year, after employee benefits, the major problems for factories were finding qualified workers and taxes. Service firms had the same concerns, though more were worried about government regulations than taxes.

“While most of these results closely paralleled the results from last April’s survey, one issue has become somewhat less of a concern among both survey groups: employee wage costs,” the New York Fed said.

Both manufacturers and service firms predicted their major problems would become even more significant in the year ahead.

“A majority of respondents in both surveys said they expected finding qualified employees and wage costs to become increasingly problematic — a clear indication that businesses foresee the region’s labor market tightening further,” the bank said.

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