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CNY Economy Should Continue Growing, but Some Factors Could Limit Prosperity after Strong 2019

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Centerstate CEO
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Plenty of signs show good things ahead for the Central New York economy.  But analysts are also warning that there are some factors that could at least be ‘headwinds’ against growth. 

M&T Bank Economist Gary Keith gave his forecast at the annual Centerstate CEO economic check-up Wednesday.  He finds three years of growth in the region good news, after up-and-down performance that led to uncertainty.  And it’s showing up in record low unemployment.

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Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
M&T Bank Economist Gary Keith

“You look at the progress we’re making in economic opportunities, over 7000 new jobs embedded in this trend vs. less than half of that a year ago.  Inside that process though we have a labor-force issue.  Where do we go to get that next new employee?  How low can we drive this number.?”

Sings of optimism are tempered with concerns on several fronts.  Not enough workers for certain jobs could stall growth; continued population decline also shrinks the market for goods and services that drive the economy.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul counters that with data that shows the area is reversing the brain drain of younger, educated residents.

“But the best indicator I see for the future is the fact of us not losing 9, 10, 12% of our young people.  From 2010 to 2018, that trajectory reversed and is up almost 8 %.  What a swing that is.”

Centerstate President Rob Simpson adds the city of Syracuse, in particular, has grown in 25-to-34 year-olds.  He’s also finding a positive outlook among area businesses surveyed about their future.

“… with 76% anticipating a strong to very strong year ahead.  49% expect to make capital investments; 70% expect sales and revenues to expand in 2020; 65% of you say you expect to be hiring in the next 12 months.”

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Credit Centerstate CEO
Investment in drones, unmanned aerial systems, fueling growth in the area in jobs, number of companies.

He credits that momentum to plans that are starting to pay off, such as the tech garden, investments in downtown Syracuse, other economic incentives, and collaboration with local government.  Simpson also believes growth and opportunity are impacting poverty. (see Simpson's presentation here)

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Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
Centerstate CEO President Rob Simpson

"There is reason to be hopeful that the critical problem is at minimum, no longer getting worse and may in fact be starting to turn the corner.  Since 2012, Black and African American poverty has gone down 3 %.  For Hispanics and Latinos, poverty went down more than 11 %, outpacing Rochester, Buffalo and Detroit.”

Looking ahead, Governor Cuomo’s inclusion of a proposed $70 million dollars for the Syracuse STEAM school can also help job training to assist future growth.