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Economic Poll Shows Confidence in Local Businesses Has Grown

Hauppauge Industrial Association's annual business survey shows confidence has increased slightly, but fear of a double dip recession grows.

Local business owners are slightly more confident in the economy this year, according to polling numbers released Thursday, yet there are growing fears a double-dip recession might be coming.

The Hauppauge Industrial Association released the results of the 2011-2012 Long Island Economy Survey and Opinion Poll, compiled by Albrecht, Viggiano, Zureck & Company, at its Economic Summit on Thursday morning.

The study, mailed out to approximately 5,000 Long Island business owners on Oct. 1, 2011, showed confidence increased slightly to 5.1 from 5.0 over the last year.

"This is my fourth recession. I get vibes, and this is definitely the worst I've been through," said panelist Jack O`Connor, principal and director of Melville-based Newmark Knight Frank. "In the last four months alone, we've had no pulse in commercial real estate, and we do now. I have a couple of inquiries and a couple inquiries go out to sale, so I'm more confident now."

More than 100 HIA members polled Thursday morning said their confidence in the Long Island economy is actually closer to 5.8.

The confidence boost is being driven by Long Island's local economy, not national business. While confidence in Long Island economy has slightly increased, confidence in the national economy dropped from 5.0 to a 4.5.

"Long Island does not have the empty housing developments or condo projects many other places do," said Kevin O`Connor, CEO of Bridgehampton National Bank.

Kevin O`Connor said awareness of other national trends in perspective to Long Island has made business owners realize it's worse elsewhere.

"Our unemployment rate is 3 percent less than the national rate, and I think that's part of the reason," said Jack O`Connor.

Despite these positive signs, 61 percent of local business owners responding to the survey said they believe Long Island is headed for a double-dip recession. This is an uptick from 43 percent at the start of 2011.

Tom Murray, managing partner of AVZ who conducted the study, said he thinks that there are several positive changes in the economy since polling on Oct. 1, 2011 that would change that answer today.

Murray cited figures that since Jan. 1, the Dow is up 4.4 percent, the S&P up 5.5 percent and NASDAQ is up 8 percent.

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