Region's firms in upbeat mood
More than 1 in 3 surveyed say they expect to be hiring
Tom Abate, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Businesses in the region remain optimistic about their prospects, the direction of the regional economy and the outlook for hiring according to a survey scheduled for release Wednesday.
"For the second quarter in a row, very large, medium and small companies are all planning significant hiring,'' said Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council, a business-backed public policy group that issues quarterly surveys of local business sentiment.
Based on interviews with 515 Bay Area business leaders representing a mix of firms by size and industry, the Council pegged the region's business confidence index at 62, up from 59 when the last survey was taken in the spring.
The index is a sliding scale in which zero would represent hopelessness and 100 nirvana. The current reading indicates a "significant uptick in optimism," Council spokesman John Grubb said.
About 38 percent of the business leaders surveyed said they expected to add staff in the next six months, while an additional 51 percent expected at least to keep payrolls steady. Only 8 percent said they expected to trim employees, while the remaining 3 percent were unsure.
In the spring, expansion plans were similar, with 39 percent of businesses surveyed expecting to increase their Bay Area workforces by year's end. A year ago, the Council's survey found that 30 percent of businesses expected to hire additional staff.
Council leaders said the current survey, conducted in the latter part of July, found firms of all sizes relatively bullish. In the recent past, smaller firms had been more confident about hiring than larger ones, Grubb said.
The Council found widespread optimism in both hiring and overall outlook throughout the region. Still, Santa Clara County, heart of hard-hit Silicon Valley, remains somewhat more pessimistic.
For instance, 16 percent of the firms surveyed in Santa Clara County expected payrolls to decrease in the next six months -- more than double the overall Bay Area rate.
By industry, 52 percent of the travel and leisure firms, 43 percent of professional services companies, 40 percent of financial activities firms and 39 percent of construction companies expected to add staff.
Brian Garrett, president of the Community Bank of the Bay in Oakland, a lender that specializes in small and inner-city clients, said the real estate boom is driving activity in a number of areas, notably small shopping centers and retail startups.
Sanjiv Bhandari, principal at BKBC Architects in Walnut Creek, said a surge in custom residential, small housing developments and retail expansion has allowed his firm to grow to six people from four last year -- with the possibility of creating a couple of new positions to handle anticipated work.
Even in San Jose, which is still struggling to rebound, Bob Scarborough, president of softwaremaker Tensoft Inc., said his 22-person firm doubled its sales in 2004 and added five people in the process. The company sells software to technology firms to help them increase productivity in order compete worldwide.
The spreading sense of optimism in firms of all sizes, in different locations and industries, is making Wells Fargo Executive Vice President Steven Bojkovic, a 22-year veteran of business lending in the Bay Area, sound upbeat.
"For the first time in recent history, we're starting to see the Bay Area ready to start firing on all cylinders,'' he said.
Bay Area business confidence
-- The Bay Area Business Confidence Index rose to 62 in August from 59 in May.
-- 38 percent of firms said they planned to hire in the next six months, down from 39 percent in previous survey.
-- 8 percent of firms said they expected to cut staff, up from 7 percent..
Source: Bay Area Business Council
E-mail Tom Abate at firstname.lastname@example.org
- ► 2007 (799)
- ► 2006 (662)
- VA hastens Dixon veterans cemetery construction
- Solano's jobless matches national average
- Solano County get Chinese Sister City - Ji'an
- Solano County gets sister city in China
- Vallejo Waterfront deal OK'd
- Vallejo schools bump up its testing scores
- Last-minute Negotiations Key to Deal for Waterfron...
- The Vacaville Planning Commission is expected to v...
- A white tablecloth Italian restaurant and lounge w...
- A glimpse at Vallejo's waterfront future
- Vacaville schools do well with state targets
- Solano County Supervisors consider new English Hil...
- City of Dixon Planners, Council to digest report o...
- Novartis to Buy Rest of Chiron for $5.1B
- Chiron gets $62M deal for bird flu vaccine stockpi...
- Solano County seeking its foothold on the wine ind...
- Arming for potential disaster in Vacaville
- Calif. new-home building set for banner year -repo...
- VA hastens veterans cemetery construction near Dix...
- Traffic fears mar Solano County fairgrounds plan
- Sacramento in top 50 of logistics-friendly cities
- Developers seeking out shut-down military base in ...
- Solano County Board of Supervisors and delegates f...
- The unemployment rate in Solano County was down to...
- Chiron expects market share boost
- Office space leases slowing in Silicon Valley
- Vallejo Waterfront developer waits for OK from cou...
- Fairfield City staffbegins study to look at motel ...
- G V Cellars to debut in Green Valley
- Smallest city in Solano, Rio Vista is reshaping ma...
- California lost jobs in September - The Sacramento...
- Dr. Gunnar Weikert, chairman of Inventages Venture...
- The Sonoma County Economic Development Board today...
- the Sacramento region should grow by almost 370,00...
- Developers asking voters to open land for housing ...
- 11 Bay Area School Districts Asking Voters for $1...
- Construction underway for Venture Commerce Center ...
- Holiday Inn Sale Becomes Official
- High Rise Work OK'd
- Downtown Mall Gets Fresh Look
- Study Predicts Economic Growth in Fairfield
- Benicia Business Park Expansion Progressing
- Ground Broken for New Library
- County Called One of the Nation's '100 Best Commun...
- Changes for Collinsville?
- Suisun's Newest Neighborhood
- Building a Village
- Study: Vallejo Area to Lead Region's Economic Grow...
- Napa-Solano Trail Dedication this Weekend
- City OKs Plan for Downtown
- Council Approves Villages Project
- PG&E Gets OK to Discount Rates to Keep Businesses ...
- Second Street Starts
- Mills Corp., Sierra Club Present Separate Plans fo...
- Milk Farm Vision Vies on Reality
- Fairfield-Suisun District Encouraging National Cer...
- Healthy Local Job Market Predicted
- A State of the Art Brewery
- Council to Discuss Plans for Fairfield/Vacaville T...
- Leasing Picks up For Benicia Industrial Condos
- Genentech profits surge 56 percent
- Big changes are being planned for the northern ”ga...
- Job growth will accelerate the Bay Area's commerci...
- Fairfield's Urban Infill
- 'Bold Plan' for Revitalization
- T.G.I. Friday's and BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse ...
- Gas Crunch a Selling Point for housing development...
- Indirectly, High School Project Begins
- Housing Still Hot
- Article Last Updated: Friday, Aug 26, 2005 - 10:57...
- Air Expo Returns to Travis in October
- Business Owners Get Chance to Buy Offices
- Fairfield's Next Big Housing Project on the Way
- Nut Tree's New Era Begins
- Vacaville Officials, Project Managers Break Ground...
- Rebirth of a Landmark: Nut Tree to be Revived
- Ceremony to Mark New Nut Tree's Start
- Vacaville May Get New Furniture Store
- Local After School Programs Get State Grant
- Aiming for a Wonderful Life
- Genentech Construction Schedule Hits it Mark
- Firm Marks Anniversary
- Aerial Pesticides Not Used in Solano Due to Low Th...
- STARS on the Rise
- New Highway 37 Debuts Today
- Own your own business
- Meyer Adding 2 Warehouses to Facility
- Now and the Future
- Solano Exhibit Wins Award at State Fair
- STAR Scores Show Improvement Both Locally, Statewi...
- Sutter Buys Land to Expand Medical Facility
- The Growing Niche of City Development
- Land Trust Gets Funds for Preservation
- Timing is Everything
- The New Highway 37: 50 Years in the Making
- Racetrack Report Set for Release
- Region's Firms in Upbeat Mood
- Bank Sells Lagoon Valley Parcel for $6.6 Million
- M.I. May Get Shuttle Buses to Ferry Dock
- ▼ October (125)
- ► 2004 (125)