New York Economy

The Brian Lehrer Show

New York's Up-and-Down Employment Numbers

Friday, July 20, 2012

New York's unemployment rate went up last month, despite more jobs being added. Anjali Athavaley, New York economics reporter for The Wall Street Journal, looks at the theories behind the seemingly contradictory reports.

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The Empire

New York voters have nothing good to say about the state's economy

Friday, November 04, 2011

Happy Friday! Here's some uplifting news from the good folks of Marist and NY1/YNN. According to a poll put out yesterday, nearly 80 percent of voters surveyed said they believed the state was (still) suffering from a recession.

The poll also said 86 percent of voters think the state's economy will stay the same (as in, we'll remain in a recession) or will be getting worse (...depression?). And 54 percent believe the worst is yet to come when it comes to the economy. That number was 47 percent when the question was asked of voters back in February 2011, and at 53 percent in May.

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The Empire

Comptroller Liu tours the most unemployed county in New York State

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In a video that first appeared (to my knowledge) on the Norwood News website, New York City Comptroller is seen talking with members of the Bronx Community College about the difficulties faced by students.

According to the News, Liu was on a "mini-tour" which consisted of a trip to a jobs center as well as a senior center:

The Bronx continues to have the highest unemployment in the state, according to the most recent New York State Department of Labor numbers, at 12.1 percent. The city's rate overall stands at 8.7 percent.

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The Empire

Governor Cuomo announces nearly $5 billion investment in tech for upstate NY

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Speaking at the statewide conference of regional economic councils, Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced a $4.8 billion research and development investment for upstate New York. A group of five big name tech companies will invest $4.4 billion over the next five years in nanochip technology research, the governor said. Additionally the state will invest $400 million in the SUNY Institute of Technology campus in Utica to help support the potential growth in the sector.

"This unprecedented private investment in New York's economy will create thousands of jobs and make the state the epicenter for the next generation of computer chip technology," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "In the last nine months, my administration has worked to create a more confident environment for doing business in New York, and major deals like this one prove that the state is truly open for business."

The governor said the plan will create an estimated 6,900 jobs, with 2,500 of those coming in the form of high-tech jobs in the firms involved in the deal. Five international computer technology firms, led by IBM, are part of the deal that will create new opportunities in Albany, Utica and elsewhere upstate.

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The Empire

Focus on flood recovery raises new hydrofracking concerns for for upstate Assemblyman Cahill

Thursday, September 08, 2011

This story has been updated.

Courtesy of the Assemblyman's website.

By Karen DeWitt, WXXI Capitol Bureau Chief

The news has been dominated this week by two upstate stories that strangely have dovetailed, at least in one regard.

The additional flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Lee has only made the decision to limit the time for public comment on a hydrofracking report more problematic for critics.

Assembly Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill says he’s disappointed with the Department of Environmental Conservation’s decision to make the public comment period on a draft final report on hydrofracking 90 days long, an increase from 60 days but still not long enough largely because of the flooding.

Cahill says many of the key regions in the Marcellus Shale were flooded first by tropical storm Irene and now the remnants of Hurricane Lee, with several of them declared federal disaster areas. He says people there will be too busy cleaning up ruined homes and businesses to focus on attending hearings or submitting opinions on the future of natural gas drilling in New York.

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The Empire

Siena poll: 64 percent say government is the problem when it comes to the economy

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A new Siena Research Institute poll released today says 64 percent of New Yorkers polled felt the government was more of a problem than a solution when it comes to national economic concerns. According to the poll results, a weak plurality--39 percent--thought Democrats have a better understanding of what needs to be done economically. A stronger plurality--43 percent--trust Democrats to do the right thing to improve the economic situation.

The down feeling might also have had something to do with the people being asked: 45 percent of those polled said they were not employed. Still, neither party looks particularly good on the economy to voters right now.

“Republicans tend to think that their party understands what needs to be done to address the economy and they trust elected GOP’s more than Democrats to do the right thing. Democrats tend to say the same about members of their party. But over a third of independents and a full quarter of all New Yorkers now say that neither party understands our problems nor warrants their trust,” Dr. Don Levy, Siena Research Institute's director, said in a statement.

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The Empire

New Yorker consumer confidence at lowest since Feb. 2009: Siena

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Yorker's confidence in the economy is slipping, according to a poll released by the Siena Research Institute. Consumer confidence decreased 1.2 points in August, Siena found, even as buying plans for big-ticket items like homes and cars edged up.

"Right now the nation's future outlook is terrible. In New York we are more hopeful as our outlook rises to simply pessimistic. Still, despite the needle of sentiment pointing towards a double-dip recession, we may dodge that hurricane given an uptick in buying plans most especially for homes.”

We're doing better than the country as a whole, though, which fell to its lowest levels since 2008. The press release from Siena is after the jump.

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The Empire

Innovation Trail takes a look at Cuomo's economic councils

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

By Marie Cusick/WMHT with

This weekend the Innovation Trail and WMHT's New York NOW looked into the state’s plan to revitalize the economy through the creation of 10 regional economic development councils.

The councils will compete for a billion dollars worth of state funds, and the governor has said that there will be clear "winners and losers" among the state's regions. Take a look to find out why that has some people worried.

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The Empire

Cuomo, FEMA take air tour of Irene-ravaged Mohawk Valley

Monday, August 29, 2011

Governor Cuomo survey storm damage upstate. (Karen DeWitt / WXXI)

By Karen DeWitt, WXXI Capitol Bureau Chief

Governor Cuomo and a top FEMA official surveyed the damage caused by flooding in the Mohawk River and Schoharie Valley earlier today. The Mohawk River is seeping into Schenectady, flooding the historic stockade neighborhood and expected to break records set back in 1938.

In the Schoharie Valley, farms and homes are inundated from the churning brown waters. Governor Cuomo, who met with local officials, says it’s devastating.

“We paid a terrible price here,” said Cuomo. “And many of these communities are communities that can least afford to pay a terrible price.”

The governor brought along FEMA regional director Lynn Canton  to see the damage first hand, and to ask for aid, who said, after viewing the devastation, “it’s the story the world has missed”. Cuomo said the state would find a way to pay to repair the numerous roads and bridges damaged by the storm.

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The Empire

Regional economic councils meet, and this time the public is invited

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

By Emma Jacobs/WRVO for the The Innovation Trail

When Governor Andrew Cuomo pulled together the Central New York regional council on the economy he tapped business leaders and university presidents. Some of those council members were in the room on Tuesday night for a giant public brainstorming session at Lemoyne Le Moyne College. So were regular folk, like retiree Diane from Dewitt. She said she came to the event to find solutions.

“Consolidation and reducing taxes. That’s what drives kids and businesses out of our area,” she said.

Teenager Zack Kukulsky was at the table to speak for the younger set. He said he would stay in the region if he could.

“If there were jobs I could support a family on and live, go out and buy cars and all,” he said.

Jobs and work opportunities were the theme of the night. Participants said the challenges were big, and would require a lot of resources.

The regional councils have to present their plans by November to compete for a pot of state funds.

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The Empire

State unemployment remains steady, city's job report is "mixed": Dept. of Labor

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The state's Department of Labor just came out with the latest economic portrait of the city and state. State and city unemployment held steady in July, at 8 and 8.7 percent respectively. Both figures were below the national average of 9.1 percent.

“The New York State economy added 14,100 private sector jobs in July 2011, continuing its recovery from the effects of the last recession,” said the state's labor stats chief Bohdan Wynnyk in a statement.

For both the city and state, a clump of sectors--educational & health, professional & business services, and leisure & hospitality--have led in job growth coming out of the recession. Government jobs and manufacturing have continued to see contraction across the state.

Even as job growth continues, the department's analysis of the city's job situation remained uncertain:

Despite strong over-the-year job growth and a generally positive July, the labor market remains mixed with five sectors adding jobs over the past year while four sectors plus government all lost jobs. This is a much more uneven picture than statewide where only manufacturing and government lost jobs over the year.

This, despite the fact the city's private sector growth rate of plus-2 percent outdid both the state and nation.

One area where the tentative recovery news is not being shared is in the African American community. Between July 2010 and June 2011 African Americans were the only tracked group who saw an increasing in unemployment, from 14.2 percent to 14.3 percent. That is more than double the unemployment rate for whites.

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The Empire

State's cash cushion "evaporates": DiNapoli

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

  (Courtesy of the Comptroller's office)

Don't say he didn't warn us: Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli today released his monthly report on the state's finances and the news wasn't good. The state pulled in $351.5 million less than expected, essentially negating June's better-than-expected tax receipts.

“New York’s recovering economy is struggling to reach cruising altitude, and the turbulence from volatile financial markets, a lackluster job market, a struggling housing sector, and political brinksmanship in Washington is creating additional drag,” DiNapoli said in a statement.  “Each of these factors could impact results through the remainder of the fiscal year. We have to remain vigilant to keep our finances on track.  Our fiscal margins are very tight, and we could go off course very quickly.”

The state's General Fund ended July with a balance of $1.9 billion, just $9.4 million higher than projections. The state is pulling in 8.4 percent more than it did this time last year, according to the report.

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The Empire

Ball strikes critical tone on fracking

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Senator Ball, left, with anti-fracking activist/filmaker Josh Fox. (Courtesy of the Senator's office.)

Republican State Senator Greg Ball of Patterson just sent out a notice about his tour of Pennsylvania with anti-hydrofracking activist and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox.

“I want nothing more than to create jobs in New York. But I will not  roll out the red carpet for companies that are not willing to be held accountable,” Ball said in the statement. “I saw beautiful communities booming with economic activity. I also heard horror stories from families and farmers who’ve suffered health problems, lost livestock and seen a 90 percent devaluation of their homes and properties."

Ball's hosting a local forum on hydrofracking next week, and, with his Tea Party base of support, appears to be developing into an unlikely opponent of the natural gas drilling process.

Check out the long list of "tour findings" he says he expects to raise next week and in the debate about fracking in Albany:

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The Empire

The Landmen Cometh: The frontlines of fracking get personal as owners face aggressive pitches for land

Monday, August 15, 2011

When landmen sit down with property owners over an oil and gas lease, there can be a lot of money at stake. Some of these prospectors are more honest than others. WRVO's Emma Jacobs reports on kitchen table negotiations underway for natural gas drilling access in the region.

Ruth Tonachel says landmen were coming to her door several times a week at the height of northeast Pennsylvania's land rush. (Emma Jacobs / WRVO)

The front line of the controversial expansion of natural gas drilling isn't a meadow in Pennsylvania or New York. It's the kitchen table.

That's where landowners meet with landmen - the fleet of salesmen that gas companies use to convince landowners to sign drilling leases.

Meeting the landmen

Landmen began approaching Ruth Tonachel during the leasing rush that swept through northern Pennsylvania in 2007.

“When they first showed up in 2007,” she says, “there were people knocking on the door a couple times a week, calling constantly, stuff in the mail, phone messages, from all different companies. I mean it was hard to even sort out.”

Tonachel’s property has been in the family since 1790 so she was cautious about the idea of a drilling lease.

She speaks fondly of some of the many landmen she met with. Others did things she didn’t like, like the one she met with at a restaurant.

“He talked awhile about his background and how long he’d been in business and where he was from," she says. "Just chit chat friendly talk … I said 'well I can’t sign anything in a hurry', but he pulled out a whole set of leases all with our names on them.”

Landmen are often compared to fast-talking used car salesman. Tonachel's visitors repeatedly urged her to sign right then and there, claiming theirs was the best deal she'd ever get. When she didn’t sign, they’d come back with a different, better deal. Signing bonuses went from hundreds to thousands of dollars per acre.

But the landmen were putting more than just money on the table - some of them were serving up half-truths, misrepresentations, or outright lies.

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The Empire

State budget report: $4.6 billion gap by 2015

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Despite a spike in tax collections, the governor's budget office today released a report that took the wind out of the sails of anyone hoping for an improvement in the state's fiscal situation.

"Positive operating results through June 2011 compared the Enacted Budget forecast are
believed to be timing-related and do not provide a basis for revising the annual estimates of receipts or disbursements at this time," the report said.

The good news is that things aren't getting any worse. The reports says budget projections remain on track, we have $2.6 billion more in the bank than this time last year, and our operating budget is nearly $2 billion better off than expected.

In the coming weeks the state's two biggest labor unions--Public Employee Federation and Civil Service Employees Association--that represent 60 percent of the state's workforce, are set to vote on contracts that are a big portion of the $450 million in savings that are being counted.

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The Empire

New York continues population drain: Empire Center

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Empire Center's EJ McMahon and Robert Scardamalia released a new report today on New York's continued population loss. Among the report's findings:

  • Since 1960, New York has lost 7.3 million residents to the rest of the country.  This was partially offset by an influx of 4.8 million foreign immigrants, resulting in a net decline of 2.5 million residents.
  • New York’s average annual domestic migration loss – the difference between people moving in from other states and out to other states -- jumped from about 60,000 people in the 1960s to an all-time high of nearly 237,000 in the 1970s.  The state’s domestic migration outflows have averaged between 130,000 and 160,000 a year since 1980.
  • For a second consecutive decade, New York’s net population loss due to domestic migration was the highest of any state as a percentage of population.
  • New York’s net migration loss – the sum of domestic and foreign migration – increased over the last decade to its highest levelsince the 1970s. Thirteen states had negative net migration between 2000 and 2010, and only three (Illinois, Louisiana and Michigan) lost a bigger share of their populations to migration than New York.
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The Empire

Cuomo announces first meeting of regional econ councils

Monday, August 01, 2011

The governor's office announced the schedule of the regional economic councils (list below). The councils were announced last week and were created as part of the governor's stated economic push for the state.

"With the launch of the Regional Councils, we are transforming the state's approach to economic development," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "For the first time ever, regions will compete for up to one billion dollars in economic development aid to help support the plans for their own economic future. The plans the councils begin to develop this week will chart a course for growth and job creation for each region and for all New Yorkers."

The statement described what the councils are charged to do:

During the inaugural meetings, council members will begin to identify key regional issues and opportunities, begin to discuss a regional economic vision, identify work groups to focus on public engagement, address key issues and outline major elements of the strategic plans. Each meeting will be followed by a media availability, where, among other things, the council members will discuss their plans for future public forums.

Applications for projects and programs will be due in November. The winners of the grant money and tax credits are scheduled to be announced this December.

Western New York
August 3, 2011
University at Buffalo, 10:00 AM

Finger Lakes
August 3, 2011
Monroe Community College, 3:00 PM

Central New York
August 4, 2011
SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, 9:30 AM

Southern Tier
August 4, 2011
University at Binghamton, 3:00 PM

North Country
August 5, 2011
SUNY Potsdam, 11:00 AM

Capital Region
August 9, 2011
University at Albany, 9:30 AM

Mid Hudson
August 9, 2011
SUNY New Paltz, 3:00 PM

New York City
August 10, 2011
CUNY Baruch College, 9:30 AM

Long Island
August 10, 2011
SUNY Stonybrook, 3:00 PM

Mohawk Valley
August 11, 2011
SUNY Institute of Technology, 11:00 AM

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The Empire

Lt. Gov. Duffy announces New York City's regional economic council

Friday, July 29, 2011

[New York City's council's full roster at the bottom.]

(Courtesy of the Governor's office)

The governor’s traveling economic development roadshow finally made its way to New York City today. Local politicians, agency and labor representatives, city officials and perhaps even a few tech students congregated in the auditorium of Brooklyn’s New York City College of Technology to hear Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy announce the creation of the city’s new regional economic council—the last of ten.

“The governor has outlined a fundamental shift in the state's approach to economic development, from a top-down to a community-based approach that emphasis each region's unique assets, harnesses local expertise and empowers each region to set plans and priorities,” said Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson, in his introduction of Duffy.

This past week Governor Cuomo and his lieutenant have been traveling all over the state, announcing the creation of new regional economic councils that draw from local academic, civic and business leaders. This is the next phase of the governor’s promised push to revive the state’s economy. Each council will be submitting ideas for bringing business and jobs to the state, working with a streamlined state agency system also announced this week, and competing for funds from a $1 billion grant to help get the best ideas off the ground.

“It is about what is the best way we can pull together regionally to continue to grow jobs, and bring jobs and companies here,” Duffy said.

The lieutenant governor made it clear that the regional councils were, in part, meant to steer away from the upstate-downstate divide that normally colors statewide economic discussions. But being the last council to be named, having the capable but junior Duffy deliver the announcement, and, at the time of the press conference, only being able to name one of the co-chairs to head the whole thing—CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein—gave the impression that bringing the city into the mix was not the governor’s priority.

In a sense, why should it be? Mayor Bloomberg has been working for years to develop a city-centric program of job industry diversification, entrepreneurial growth, and academic development that he would like to see set as the crowning jewel of his time as mayor. Upstate New York has never recovered fully from the death of American industry. While counties upstate continued to hemorrhage young, able-bodied workers—something Duffy reminded the assembled—New York City has been growing in population for years.

And if there was any doubt these councils were creatures of the state, the dearth of city officials present, with the exception of Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for economic development, Bob Steel, and the presence of numerous state legislators made that clear.

The governor’s office has made a major show of these councils and its desire to make New York “open for business.” The councils were created, the governor said, to allow regional insight, issues and economic solutions to come from the bottom up. Given their composition—appointed and so far without a mechanism for public input—whether or not the issues of concern to the people of the regions will be represented is uncertain. What is certain, here in the city, is that Goldstein and his co-chair, American Express chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault, have nine other regional councils they need to catch up to.

New York City Regional Council Members

Regional Co-Chairs
Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor, City University of New York
Kenneth Chenault, Chairman & CEO, American Express

General Members
Ann Moore, Former Chairman & CEO, Time, Inc.
Gail Grimmett, Senior Vice President for New York, Delta Airlines
Steve Spinola, President, Real Estate Board of New York
Douglas C. Steiner, Chairman, Steiner Studios
Ashok Nigalaye, President & CEO, Epic Pharma LLC
Gary LaBarbera, President, New York City Building and Constructions Trade
Dr. Marcia V. Keizs, President, York College
Sheena Wright, President & CEO, Abyssinian Development Corp.
Francine Y. Delgado, Senior Vice President, Seedco
Steve Hindy, President, Brooklyn Brewery
Kevin Ryan, Founder & CEO, Gilt Groupe
Kenneth Knuckles, President & CEO, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development
Marcel Van Ooyen, Executive Director, Grow NYC
Cesar J. Claro, President & CEO, Staten Island Economic Development Corporation
Marlene Cintron, President, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC)
Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City
Carl Hum, President & CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Nick Lugo, President, New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Carol Conslato, President, Queens Chamber of Commerce
Stuart Applebaum, President, RWDSU
Mike Fishman, President, 32BJ SEIU
Peter Ward, President, Hotel & Motel Trades Council

Elected Officials
Mayor of New York City (appoints one representative)
Bronx Borough President
Brooklyn Borough President
Manhattan Borough President
Staten Island Borough President
Queens Borough President

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The Empire

Cuomo pushes economic development agenda with new regional councils

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

(Courtesy of the Governor's office)

Following up on his promise to turn his attention to the state's stagnant economy, Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced the first of ten regional economic councils that he said would help drive local economic development and improve the state's business climate.

"For too long, Albany has imposed one-size-fits-all economic development plans across the state, ignoring the unique assets and challenges of each region," Cuomo said in a statement. "Today, we are taking a new approach."

The first council was announced this morning in Western New York, where Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy joined business, civic, academic and government officials.

"With the Regional Councils, we will empower individual areas like Western New York to chart their own course for job creation and growth and we will send a clear message that New York is open for business," Cuomo's statement said.

The announcement was followed by similar ones from the Finger Lakes and Central New York regions. The councils are meant to serve as liaisons between regional interests and the state government, bringing a "community-based approach that emphasizes regions' unique assets, harnesses local expertise, and empowers each region to set plans and priorities."

Lieutenant Governor Duffy will chair each of the council's, assisted by two regional co-chairs. The governor is expected to announce the remaining regions, listed below and in map form, and their regional co-chairs soon.

  • Capital Region (Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, Washington)
  • Central New York (Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego)
  • Finger Lakes (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates)
  • Long Island (Nassau, Suffolk)
  • Mid-Hudson (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester)
  • Mohawk Valley (Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie)
  • New York City (Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond)
  • North Country (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence,)
  • Southern Tier (Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins)
  • Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara)

(Courtesy of the Governor's office)

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The Empire

New York unemployment update: more of the same

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

While the report from the department of labor doesn't show things getting significantly worse, growth throughout New York City and State has slowed a bit as the unemployment rates for both move sideways, according to James Brown, the departments principal economist.

The unemployment in New York City rose slightly from 8.6 percent in May to 8.8 percent in June--a normal uptick for the summer--with the Bronx remaining the county with the highest unemployment in the state at 12 percent. For the state overall the unemployment rate rose to 8.0 from 7.8 in May. Both the city and state's unemployment rates were down from June 2010. The figures from labor were not seasonably adjusted.

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