Employers cautiously optimistic

There’s good news and bad news coming out of this year’s Minnesota Chamber of Commerce business survey.

The annual “business barometer survey,” found employers are generally optimistic about the state’s long-term economic future.

But businesses aren’t confident the state has completely emerged from the recession. And that’s keeping them from hiring more people and investing more in their businesses right now.

Optimism, however, is slowly returning for the first time in several years, the survey found. Thirty-one percent said the economy is improving, compared to 13 percent last year.

An equal number of the 350 Minnesota businesses surveyed reported adding staff as said they had reduced their staff in the previous year.

Taxes, government regulations, rising employee health insurance costs, electricity costs — all were identified as barriers to job creation. Half said there are enough skilled workers in their industries and that training can solve apparent shortages.