The latest survey of business leaders in Windsor-Essex suggests high energy costs and labour costs are lingering concerns.

The Pulse of the Region Survey suggests three out of four respondents consider energy costs to be a "huge" issue.

Pete Mateja from the University of Windsor's Odette School of Business is one of the researchers.

"Talking with some for the manufacturers recently, some of them have talked about the next time they're looking at expansion, they're going to look at south of the border, just because they can save close to sixty per cent in energy costs," he said.

The report says that if high energy costs are not addressed "in the not-too-distant future, businesses that are heavily dependent will be tempted to consider moving across the border."

A new study released Monday by the Fraser Institute suggest rates higher in Canada, but not by 60 per cent.

The study finds that electricity rates for Canadian commercial customers are 19 per cent higher than those in the U.S., excluding Hawaii, with small industrial customers facing rates 30 per cent higher.

"These higher electricity rates put Canadian businesses at a competitive disadvantage and deter future economic development," said Kenneth Green, study co-author and Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources. "This is particularly troubling for a province such as Ontario, which has a significant manufacturing sector, and Alberta, which relies on resource extraction."

In Windsor, labour costs were the second-biggest concern to local businesses.

More than 58 per cent said labour costs were a concern, up from 45.5 per cent from a year ago.

The survey shows one third of the business people are more optimistic about the local economy in 2014.

That's down from almost half who expressed optimism last year.