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Many businesses in Jefferson County expect to hire more employees in the next two years, according to a new survey by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency (JCIDA).

The number of businesses which expect to hire more workers is up sharply from the last survey two years ago.

"Our local businesses are feeling optimistic about the future," said Don Alexander, head of the JCIDA. "They're feeling very optimistic about their own successes and potential successes."

A total of 76 companies participated. Of that number:

- 44.4 percent expect to hire more employees in the next two years

- 13.9 percent expect nto have fewer employees

- 41.7 percent expect employment to remain the same

If the number of companies expecting to hire more workers - 44.7 percent - doesn't strike you as a big deal, consider what it was in 2011: only 23.1 percent expected to hire more.

"I think what we're seeing is the uptick in the national economy," said Alexander.

And the rest of the survey supports the hiring projections.

This year, 42.5 percent of businesses report having hired more people during the last two years. Back in 2011, as we were just emerging from the recession, that number was only a little over 25 percent.

During the recession, Jefferson County lost roughly 600 jobs.

"We're still suffering in sectors," said Cheryl Mayforth, from "The Workplace," an employment and training service. "Government employment is down, construction is down. Our manufacturers are doing well and yet we're still in a deficit."

The report also highlights what sorts of skills businesses need. For instance, manufacturers list "supervision" as their most needed skill, followed by "maintenance and equipment repair."

When it comes to construction, electrical, painting, plumbing and masonry skills led the way.

And in terms of what people need to know about computers, the ability to use common programs like Microsoft Word and web browsers dominates the list of skills needed.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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