NAE survey: Optimistic employers expect to boost staffing |

NAE survey: Optimistic employers expect to boost staffing

John Seelmeyer

After years in which the Nevada economy suffered a nasty case of the flu while the rest of the United States was recovering from a bad cold, employers in northern Nevada are feeling almost as chipper as their counterparts elsewhere in the country.

A survey conducted by the Employers Associations of America finds that 88.2 percent of executives in Nevada think that business during 2014 will be at least as good as 2013.

Nearly 18 percent are expecting significant sales increases, while 44.9 percent say they’re budgeting for slight increases in sales during 2014.

The survey gathered the thoughts of 118 business executives in Nevada.

The Nevada Association of Employers, which coordinated the survey in the Silver State, has said that its membership — and, hence, survey participation — is weighted heavily toward northern Nevada businesses.

Jim Nelson, executive director of the Nevada Association of Employers, said the survey found that employers in the region are only slightly less optimistic than the national average.

The 88.2 percent of Nevada executives who expect business in 2014 to be about the same or better than 2013, for instance, compares with 90 percent nationally who share that sentiment.

In Nevada, 62.7 percent of executives expect increased revenue in 2014. Nationally, the figure is 71 percent.

“Nevada seems to lag slightly behind the national norms in these important categories,” Nelson said. “Perhaps that’s indicative of how severely Nevada was impacted by the recession compared to other states.”

The optimism comes on the heels of a year in which executives said their companies at least held their own.

About 41 percent said that 2013 was a better year than 2012, and just under 45 percent said that results during 2013 held even with the previous year.

Some 19.5 percent said their companies posted significant sales increases in the year that is just ending, and another 38 percent reported slight increases in sales or revenues. About 21 percent said sales during 2013 fell from year-earlier figures.

And even while employers have kept a tight lid on hiring even as sales recover, the survey found that the pace of hiring will inch higher in 2014.

About 45 percent of the respondents said that they expect their companies will increase staffing in 2014. A year earlier, about 42 percent of the respondents were predicting staff increases.

At the same time, only 6 percent of the Nevada executives in this year’s survey said they expect to cut their staffs during 2014. A year ago, staffing cuts were in the plans for 13.6 percent of the respondents.

Employers are mildly worried about labor shortages today, and they expect that the availability of workers will become a growing problem.

Some 13.6 percent of the executives said they’re already seeing serious shortages in unskilled labor, 6 percent said they’re having trouble filling skilled positions and 18 percent said shortages in professional and technical areas is a problem a today.

But in the longer-term, a full third of the executives said they’re expecting serious shortages in finding skilled labor and 21 percent said they see serious challenges in recruitment of professional and technical workers.

In response to a tightening labor market, two-thirds of the respondents said they’re looking to boost wages and salaries next year. More than 71 percent said their companies increased pay during 2013.

At the same time, just about half the executives said the ability of their companies to pay the costs of benefits presents a serious long-term challenge. Only 12 percent see the issue as serious in the short-term.