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Pessimistic economic forecast - Survey shows both business and consumers are worried

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The high cost of living, including increasing energy and health care costs, tops the list of 2008 concerns in a survey of Brooklyn businesses and consumers that is set to be released next week. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and Sovereign Bank teamed up on the survey, which looks at the Brooklyn economy and where it is heading in 2008. The survey’s results are just one component of the BCC’s high-powered public breakfast forum slated for 8 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams Street. The City’s new Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Robert C. Lieber, will deliver the keynote address at the breakfast. Lieber replaces Dan Doctoroff. Among his new jobs is to oversee the city’s role in the massive Downtown Brooklyn re-development following its 2004 rezoning. The breakfast will also have a panel featuring experts discussing the national and global economic outlook and its impact on Brooklyn and the metropolitan region. BCC President Carl Hum will moderate the discussion. Panelists will include Brian Coleman, CEO of the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, and Joan Bartolomeo, president of the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation. Other speakers at the event include noted economist Maria Fiorini Ramirez. “The chamber is pleased to partner with Sovereign Bank to bring our members timely and relevant information from experts in finance and the economy,” said Hum. “This information is important to our membership as they sustain and help drive the Brooklyn economy.” The BCC and Sovereign conducted the direct mail and online survey of consumers and businesses in Brooklyn in late 2007. The goal of the survey was to seek information about their plans for 2008 and their outlook on the local economy. Other highlights of the surveys findings include that Brooklyn consumers’ satisfaction with their quality of life, including a low crime rate. The survey also found that many respondents see their personal financial situation as fairly stable over the next few years. Most worrisome to many of those surveyed, however, are rising health care costs. Chamber members and the business leaders surveyed outside Manhattan also said they see a continuing expectation for capital expenditures and adding new employees in 2008. Just as with consumers, the most important challenges that borough businesses found – by a very wide margin – are energy prices and health care costs. Compared to other parts of the metropolitan region, business leaders surveyed believe Brooklyn does at least a comparable or better job at attracting, retaining, and expanding business in the borough. “If you work or live in Brooklyn this [breakfast] program will provide you with information that will be valuable when you have decisions to make about hiring, expansion, relocation or where to invest your funds during 2008,” said Brendan Dugan, chair of Sovereign Bank’s Metro N.Y.-N.J. Division. Founded in 1918, the BCC is a business assistance and economic development organization dedicated to helping businesses grow and to promoting the economic development of Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Chamber has over 1,500 members, including local, regional and national businesses with customers or business interests in neighborhoods across the borough. The membership mirrors the Brooklyn business community – sole proprietors to large corporations. Member businesses represent industries such as financial services, energy, insurance, manufacturing, dining, shopping, wholesale and retail trade, fashion, hospitality, health care, real estate and communications. The BCC also provides a wide range of promotional, support and advocacy services to assist its members attract new investment to the borough and improve local business conditions. While the breakfast program is free and open to the public, reservations are required. Those interested in attending may call the Special Events Department of the BCC at 875-1000.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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