Center for Community Studies Releases Findings of New Survey

The Center for Community Studies (CCS) at Jefferson Community College released the findings of the First Biennial Regional Economic Tracking Survey at the Planning & Development Committee Meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators on October 8, 2013.

The survey is an inventory of the attitudes, opinions and behaviors of a representative sample of Jefferson and Lewis County adult residents. The primary goal of the survey is to collect data regarding behaviors and perceptions of local economic development activities and initiatives to augment the information provided about quality of life indicators already being measured in the annual Jefferson and Lewis County surveys. A secondary goal is to collect data that may assist the North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) with identifying and planning future initiatives, and evaluation of the impact of recent/past initiativesin Jefferson and Lewis Counties.

Working under the supervision of the Center for Community Studies research staff, statistics students at the College completed 684 telephone interviews on the evenings of April 3-9, 2013.

Highlights of the Regional Economic Tracking Survey include:

  • Over 86% of adult residents in the region report to have Internet access at their home (87.1% in Jefferson, 83.6% in Lewis).
  • Among current homeowners,more than one-half (50.2%) report plans to potentially make energy-efficient improvements to their homein the next three years (52.0% in Jefferson, 43.0% in Lewis).
  • Nearly two-thirds of residents (63%) indicated a current satisfaction level of “excellent” or “good” for local businesses that process and/or distribute local agriculture products.
  • Roughly one-third of participants indicated a satisfaction level of “excellent” or “good” for the availability of rental housing in the region.
  • Four out of every five residents (80%) reported that keeping Northern New York residents living and working locally was “very important”.
  • One third of regional residents (33%) answered that improvement of railways in the region (both freight and passenger) was “very important”.
  • When current business ownerswere asked “what single change would be necessary for you to expand your business by two or three employees over the next two years?”the most common response was “more sales” (23.7%).
  • Approximately one-in-six adults who does not currently own a business indicates that they have an interest in owning or operating a business in the next three years (16.2% for the two-county region, 15.7% in Jefferson, 18.6% in Lewis).
  • More than three-fourths of local residents who express an interest in starting a business (76.3%) indicate that a business indicator would definitely make them more likely to start a business.
  • Almost three fourths of the potential business owners (70.7%) plan to start businesses that are large enough to employ six or more persons (69.1% in Jefferson, 76.6% in Lewis).
  • Four of every five residents (82%) would support the adding of local childcare and preschool services.
  • Among all participants, approximately one-third (31.3%) has completed at least one type of additional specialized or technical training,The most common types of specialized training reported are “Health Care” and “Construction.”

The entire Regional Economic Tracking Survey, including a summary of the results and the complete survey instrument, will be available on October 9, 2013 on the Jefferson Community College website, www.sunyjefferson.edu.

For more information, please contact Dr. Raymond Petersen, Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College, 315-786-2488.