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Tech Execs Optimistic on Economy Improving

The second half of 2009 should show some improvement in the business climate, according to a survey of Southern California technology executives. The company leaders, however, were not as optimistic that government assistance will improve the economy. The survey of executives from San Diego to Santa Barbara counties by SoCalTech.com and The David James Agency brought in 150 responses from a variety of sectors within the tech industry. The survey asked for responses on the impact of the poor economy, whether companies were laying off employees and cutting costs, impetus for improvement and a forecast for business improvement. Forty six percent of the respondents from Los Angeles anticipate improvement between four months and 12 months. Forty three percent said there will not be an improvement for more than a year. More than 60 percent of Los Angeles County executives taking part in the survey said they have not had to cut employee positions, while 72 percent have made changes to their budgets. The non-scientific survey was done to get a better sense of what those in executive positions think of the economy, said Ben Kuo, the founder of SoCalTech.com. “You talk to a few people here and there but you never really know,” Kuo said. What he found most interesting was the difference in responses between privately-owned companies and those that are public. For instance, whereas 31 percent of respondents from private companies expected economic improvement with six months, only 3.7 percent from public companies agreed. More than 50 percent of public company respondents expected improvements to start in a year whereas only 37 percent of private companies respondents thought it would take that long. Despite all the time and effort and political wrangling involved on Capitol Hill and at the White House to fashion the $787 billion economic recovery bill, tech company execs do not see the effort as bringing about the boost promised by lawmakers. Overall, only 4 percent of respondents thought that government stimulus will help the economy. More were of the opinion that improved corporate spending (45.6 percent) and new products (28 percent) will be of more help to the economy. If that questions were to be asked again, Kuo said the responses would be different. But once again, there was a split between the respondents from private and public companies. Less than 3 percent of private companies expect that federal stimulus will help the economy. Eleven percent of respondents from public companies thought federal funds will help. “Small companies don’t see much in any stimulus for them because most of them are in industries that would not see it directly,” Kuo said. “The bigger companies are more influenced by those things.”

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