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83 percent of NY-area factories, distributors plan to hire, survey says

A prospective employee walks through the Nassau County

A prospective employee walks through the Nassau County Mega Job Fair at Nassau Community College in Garden City on Oct. 23, 2015. Nearly 300 employers participated in the event. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

More than four out of five manufacturing and distribution companies in the metropolitan area plan to add employees next year, primarily because of increased sales, according to a survey.

Grassi & Co. accountants asked more than 100 executives, 70 percent of whom are from Long Island, about their hiring plans. Eight-three percent said they would expand their payrolls.

Among those looking to hire, more than six in 10 said the reason was "growth," while nearly three in 10 cited "new products and services." The poll was conducted in September.

Jericho-based Grassi released the results at a Westbury event Wednesday night. In last year's survey 57 percent of manufacturing and distribution companies said they would hire in 2015.

Robert Grote, a Grassi partner and leader of its manufacturing and distribution practice, said local companies appear to have finally shaken off the effects of the 2007-09 recession.

"People are starting to get over the trauma. . . . They are ready to move forward and to hire," he said in an interview.

The 2015 responses were overwhelmingly from private companies, many of them family-owned and employing 100 or fewer people. Half were in food production, construction or aerospace.

The number of executives saying they had been approached about moving their company's headquarters from New York State fell to 31 percent from last year's 34 percent.

Asked their primary reason for considering relocation, 49 percent of executives said tax breaks, followed by 34 percent citing real estate expenses.

More than half of the executives said they were unaware of New York State grants and tax incentives to retain companies.

Some companies have never considered leaving.

Brian Li, chief executive of drugmaker Allegiant Health Inc. of Deer Park, said Long Island and Salt Lake City are the centers of his portion of the pharmaceutical industry. "We would lose our identity in the industry if we relocate," he said during a panel discussion organized by Grassi. "Long Island is a pretty good place to do business and to live."

Other highlights from the 2015 poll:

55 percent of companies pay their chief executive more than $300,000 per year.

59 percent have no formal succession plan.

75 percent derive more than three quarters of their sales from U.S. customers. Those that export sell primarily to Canada and Mexico.

The survey, in its third year, was sponsored by the Bethpage-based Long Island Forum for Technology and the Manhattan-based Industrial + Technology Assistance Corp.

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