Editor’s note: What do Massachusetts employers think about the economy and their own business prospects? AIM surveys member employers every month and here is a sample their comments for April:
"Construction continues to decline, as evidenced by the continual month-to-month increase in layoffs in the construction industry. Prominent individuals in the industry do not expect this sector to improve until 2012 and then at a slow pace. The inventory for all types of space: residential, office, industrial, is large locally, regionally, and nationally."
"Continue to struggle with rising energy costs (electricity and fuel oil) and filling job openings- available candidates are weak or people prefer unemployment."
"Extended Unemployment benefits are an extreme challenge for employers seeking to hire for lower-skilled jobs. Our company is finding it extremely difficult to recruit for these positions. Candidates will come in for interviews and boldly state that they can make as much through Unemployment benefits as by working. In our company's experience, the very generous and extended Unemployment benefits has a negative effect on a segment of the working class' motivation and drive to work. We have also seen rampant fraud and abuse associated with MA Unemployment benefits."
"I want to hire another employee, but the cost of health insurance is holding me back. We pay $4.25/hour for Tufts PPO. We are doing better than 2009, but holding even with 2010. Only a few customers are helping to keep our numbers up, not a wide enough base to feel secure, yet."
"The economy is in a holding pattern; it has no direction. It will remain as such for 2011, possibly longer. For there to be a recovery there must be sustained and sustainable growth in non-government full-time employment. This has yet to occur. The interest is on today's bottom line, period; tomorrow is much too uncertain. Employers are reluctant to commit to hiring. As for the economy; the "patient" may have survived the acute surgery of two years ago; the "patient" may not be on life-support, but the "patient" remains in critical-care."
"The biggest issue for our industry is illegal immigrants. All of our competition uses them to reduce costs, insurance and union benefits. This issue has to be dealt with…"
"The recession was over about 1 to 2 years ago, but I believe a new one is about to begin based on hyper-inflation caused by petroleum cost increases and other raw material shortages … I hope I am wrong."
"Washington has got to get spending under control. Then, and only then, will the recovery begin."
"Sales seem to be a bit stronger in the last few weeks but we are still trying to catch up and recover from a steady loss of the last two years."
"Being a plastic manufacturer we are affected by oil."
"Same old story- all the manufacturing went to China."