Many German businesses in Pittsburgh are optimistic amid slowdown, survey shows
By Alex Nixon
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
A majority of members of the German American Business Circle of Pittsburgh are optimistic about the future of their businesses and expect their profits to increase this year over last year.
But the percentage of positive respondents to many questions in an annual survey by the German American Business Circle of Pittsburgh declined this year compared to last year.
For example, 42.9 percent of businesses said they expect the size of their workforce to increase by the end of this year, down from 55.2 percent last year.
And 71.4 percent said they are optimistic when it comes to the outlook for their business, which was down from 77.3 percent last year.
The German American Business Circle will release its annual economic outlook survey results during a meeting on Wednesday in Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh at the SouthSide Works. Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky will deliver the meeting's keynote speech on the regional economy.
Germany is Western Pennsylvania's largest foreign investor, with 70 companies here who employ 11,000 people. Pittsburgh-area companies export about $500 million in products and services to Germany each year.
Tony Pauly, vice president and general manager of Ventana USA, a vinyl manufacturer for window and door manufacturers in Export that is active in the German Circle, said he is “cautiously optimistic” about his business in 2013.
“We are depending on how strong the housing market is going to come back,” Pauly said. “We see a slight uptick in business compared to 12 months ago.”
Pauly said he expects sales next year to increase by 5 percent.
“My customers, when I talk about them about the forecasting for 2013, there's an improved confidence that next year will be better,” he said.
Of the survey's 109 respondents, 59.3 percent said they expect customer demand to increase this year, but that was down from last year's survey when 61.5 percent of respondents said they expected an increase.
Joe Peilert, CEO of Veka Inc., a vinyl extrusion company in Fombell, Beaver County, said responses varied depending on industry.
“If you're active here and relying on Europe or China, there's a slowdown,” Peilert said.
Like Pauly, Peilert sees housing picking up in 2013 and is feeling “very optimistic” about Veka's business.
One area that garnered more positive responses this year over last year had to do with new business related to Marcellus shale natural gas.
Respondents were asked whether Marcellus shale would provide their companies with a significant business opportunity in the next five years. This year, 24.2 percent said it would, compared with 18.5 percent last year.
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins stave off Ducks’ shooting barrage to win in shootout
- Roundup: Compensation reduced for BNY Mellon’s CEO; J.C. Penney ex-chief Ron Johnson didn’t get severance; more
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- Karns City’s defense shines in PIAA first-round victory
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs
- Mt. Pleasant’s St. Pius X serves up Lenten meals
- Pirates seek to tap Alvarez’s remaining upside
- Steelers score with Springdale fundraiser
- Lincoln Way work finally set to begin