NY Unemployment Rate Stands At 3.9 Percent

The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in April, standing at 3.9 percent after it was revised downward in March, the state Department of Labor said.

The state’s private-sector job count grew by 24,600 to more than 8.3 million, which was called a new all-time high.

“New York is open for business and the proof is in these numbers,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Our goal is to provide excellent employment opportunities across the state by bolstering our regionally focused economic development strategies and diversifying our portfolio through new and innovative industries.

“While we continue to set record numbers, we still have more work to do. New York must continue to build on our economic success by creating and retaining jobs to pave the way for future success.”

EJ McMahon of the Empire Center, however, pointed out that much of the job growth is being seen unevenly across the state as the April numbers show “a wide regional variation in private job creation rates around the state—and New York as a whole continues to trail employment growth nationally.”

43North Competition Launches Year 6

From the Morning Memo:

The sixth year of the state-sponsored 43North business competition is underway.

The competition is now accepting applications from start-ups across the world, which can win cash, incubator space, and support to grow their respective companies – provided they locate them largely in Buffalo, (more on this in a moment). Winners could receive as much as $1 million from a $5 million pot.

“Over the last five years, the 43North competition has successfully driven high-quality startups to Buffalo where they can grow their businesses,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “Through this unique competition, we will continue to bring world-class talent and cutting edge businesses to this region to contribute and collaborate with the growing entrepreneurial economy.”

Winners are also allowed to operate tax-free for 10 years in the state under the Start-Up NY program. However, companies are only required to locate their CEO and half of their employees in Buffalo for a year, and the competition has faced criticism as some participants have decided to leave once that commitment was fulfilled.

The state said that over the first five years, the competition has created more than 400 jobs in Buffalo, and many companies have partnered with local institutions for continued growth. They also agree to give 43North a 5 percent equity stake.

“43North continues to be an important piece of the puzzle in attracting new businesses and talent to the region to help boost our local economy,” Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat said.

“The $5 million startup competition supported by the governor and Empire State Development has also been key to giving minority and women entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their ideas and get the critical funding they need to get their businesses off the ground. I can’t wait to hear what new and innovative businesses and talent this latest round will bring the region.”

The competition said 27 percent of its winners have had female founders, and 20 percent have been founders of color. Startups have until July 8 to submit their applications.

Ag Census Shows Decline In New York Farming

A report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found a decline in the number of farms in New York over the last five years.

The report, highlighted by the New York Farm Bureau, found there were 33,438 farms in the state in 2017, a decline of 2,100 since 2012.

It’s the largest drop in the number of farms in more than two decades and triple the national average of a 3 percent decline.

“The losses run the gamut, including a nine-percent drop in both the smallest and largest farms in terms of value of sales,” the Farm Bureau found. “New York also saw a nearly 20-percent decline in the number of dairy farms in the state. These losses coincide with nine-percent increase in labor costs, while some other production costs, like feed, gasoline and chemicals, declined. The average net farm income of $42,875 per farm is slightly below the national average.”

Meanwhile, farms are getting larger, a likely consequence of consolidation. The average farm size is now at 205 acres, an increase from 202 acres in 2012.

There are 6.8 million acres in production, down from 7.2 million five years previously.

The vast majority of farms in New York, 98 percent, are family owned. The average age of an agriculture producer is nearly 56 years old.

There was some good news for agriculture: There was a 35 percent increase in organic farms, growing from 864 farms in 2012 to 1,330 in 2017. Vegetable and fruit farms are also growing, while there was a 15 percent increase in maple operations.

Revised Labor Numbers Show Record-Low Unemployment In 2018

Federal government jobs numbers released Thursday found the state’s unemployment rate in 2018 fell to 4.1 percent amid a decade of job growth following the great recession of 2008.

New York’s unemployment rate in January was essentially unchanged from December at 3.9 percent. The national unemployment rate stands at 4 percent.

“New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the New York State economy continued to grow last year. In 2018, our annual private sector job count exceeded 8.1 million, a new annual high, and the state’s jobless rate reached 4.1%, a new record low,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, Director of the New York State Department of Labor’s Division of Research and Statistics.

Economists have pointed to the New York City area largely fueling the economic recovery amid a population boom. Upstate New York has over the last several decades struggled to retain jobs and population, meanwhile.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted the report, pointing to his administration’s efforts on economic development that’s focused on regional programs.

“These numbers are proof positive of the success of our long-term strategy of boosting economic progress across every corner of the state rather than in just a few regions, as has been the case in decades past,” he said.

“This success is bolstered by the strength of bottom-up, regionally focused economic development and transformative investments in infrastructure and new and emerging industries to support generations of future economic growth.”

Job Growth Surges In New York City, Driving Rest Of State

Jobs in New York City have urged since the end of the recession, outpacing gains made nationally and in the rest of the state, according to a report released Thursday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

New York City’s boom is one of its largest expansions since World War II, with employment increasing by 18.9 percent between 2009 and 2017 — reaching 4.4 million jobs last year.

Overall, the city has been the key driving force behind job gains in the state, with nearly 75 percent of the increases made since the end of the last decade. Many of these jobs are in the financial and securities sector, but much of the growth has also been driven by health care, business services and tourism-related industries like restaurants.

The rest of the state is a different situation, however, especially in upstate New York. The report found the remaining jobs gains made since 2009 were largely seen in the immediate metropolitan suburban counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Orange.

rpt10-2018 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

As Amazon Says No Thanks, Erie County Plants Seed For Apple Pitch

If not Amazon, how about Apple?

Erie County Legislator Joe Lorigo, C, said he’s sent a letter to Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, inviting him to visit the region as the tech company begins its own search for a second campus. Lorigo’s announcement came shortly after Amazon released its list of 20 finalists for its second headquarters with a joint bid from Buffalo and Rochester not on the list.

“We made our pitch to Amazon in the last few months, unfortunately it was unsuccessful according to news today, but now it’s time we make our pitch to Apple. When one door closes, another opens. This isn’t the old Buffalo. We think big and we take our shot. I know what our community has to offer. I’m confident we can compete with any city big or small in the country,” Lorigo said.

Apple’s plan to create a 20,000 new jobs is not quite as grand as the Amazon plan, which is promising up to 50,000 positions, but it will likely stir a similar frenzy among mid-to-large sized American metropolitan areas. Lorigo said Erie County is getting an early start.

“I’ve already begun to reach out to other elected officials and our regional economic development agencies to make sure we have a plan in place. When opportunities like this arise, we have to work together to make the best possible pitch,” he said.

The economic development agencies may be able to build off of the plan they put together for Amazon. They said while the rejection is disappointing, the proposal highlighted a number of features that could attract companies to WNY including low operating costs, ease of travel, and an extensive university system.

“Overall, this joint effort yielded much information regarding how our two communities can work together to promote our region to future suitors and top-tier talent throughout the world,” the presidents of the Buffalo and Rochester agencies said.

Unemployment Declines To 4.8 Percent, But Jobs Decrease

The state’s unemployment rate last month declined from 4.9 percent to 4.8 percent, though the state’s private-sector jobs count decreased by 11,900 in October.

The number of unemployed New Yorkers fell by 1,900, according to the Department of Labor.

“New York State’s unemployment rate fell over the month, from 4.9% to 4.8%, due to an expanding labor force and a decrease in the number of unemployed. Additionally, the state’s economy has added more than 98,000 private sector jobs over the past year,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, Director of the New York State Department of Labor’s Division of Research and Statistics.

The decline comes after several months of increased unemployment rates in the state.

The national unemployment rate stands at 4.1 percent.

New York Unemployment Rose In September

The unemployment rate in New York increased last month despite a hike in the overall number of private-sector jobs in the last 12 months, the Department of Labor said on Thursday.

New York’s unemployment in September rose to 4.9 percent, up from 4.8 percent in August, growing from 4.7 percent in July.

New York’s private-sector job count grew by 1.1 percent, or 84,400 jobs, year over year.

“Despite today’s preliminary job report, when looking over the past year, New York State’s economy has added more than 84,000 private sector jobs and experienced historically low statewide unemployment rates,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, Director of the New York State Department of Labor’s Division of Research and Statistics.

The national unemployment rate is 4.2 percent.

WNY Competes For Even More Economic Development Funding

From the Morning Memo:

Starting with the Buffalo Billion and now Phase II of the governor’s signature economic development initiative, the state has made Western New York a priority for roughly the past half a decade.

As a result, members of the local regional economic development team know securing even more funding could be a big ask.

“It is a little bit difficult for us to win this competition because we already won over a billion and a half dollars in state support for our strategic initiatives including this one, Buffalo Manufacturing Works, but I would say this team is very impressed by the turnaround they’ve seen in Western New York and Buffalo in particular,” WNY REDC co-chairman Jeff Belt said.

The team is striving to put its best foot forward when it comes to New York’s annual regional competition. Every year it puts together a report on its strategy, progress and project priorities for the coming year.

On Wednesday, team members toured a number of projects in order to highlight what has already been done. The five-county region is focusing on key industry sectors, including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, bi-national logistics, energy, health & life sciences, higher education, professional services and tourism.

The latest report proposed new state investment of at least $20 million dollars, which the team believes it could use to leverage another $75 million in private investment. They said it would create 195 new jobs, 748 indirect jobs, and retain 290 existing jobs.

“Through the stops on today’s tour, the WNYREDC was able to showcase the priority projects that fit well into the council’s core strategies,” said the other Co-Chair and President of the State University of New York at Fredonia, Dr. Virginia Horvath.

“Our progress report demonstrates how we are moving forward and how we will continue to do so on our path to prosperity. The collective support of the state and the region as a whole over the last seven years has been the key factor in making sure Western New York has a bright future.”

Officials said the governor is expected to make a decision on additional funding in December.


New York Won’t Require Union Jobs As Part Of Amazon Package

From the Morning Memo:

Amazon is planning to build a new headquarters somewhere in the U.S. in the near future, potentially adding up to 50,000 jobs at whichever lucky location – or locations – get chosen.

Like so many other states across the nation, New York is pushing hard to win this contest.

While metro regions like Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and New York City are putting together the most attractive incentive packages they can, a large portion of what’s being offered will come from the state, and Empire State Development President Howard Zemsky said the package will be basically the same for any region that applies.

They have not decided on final numbers yet, but ESDC officials follow metrics based on the number of positions a company promises to bring and how well those jobs pay.

“We have a pretty good idea of what other cities may do based on the numbers Amazon has given us, so we’ll be competitive,” Zemsky said.

While the state is looking, of course, for good-paying jobs, Zemsky said the incentive package will not require any of those positions to be earmarked for union members.

“From my perspective, that’s between Amazon and…the unions, but that’s not a stipulation,” he said.

New York labor unions will likely have a difficult time organizing workers, even with an influx of thousands of jobs at once. Amazon has a long and well-documented history of squashing labor movements.

And convincing the state to add stipulations in the midst of an ultra-competitive process is likely a non-starter, since other states won’t make similar demands.

“We don’t really specify in that respect,” Zemsky said. “So we’ll work with them, but we’re trying to attract 50,000 jobs.”

Empire State Development and New York said they have a good professional relationship with the company, which already led to the announcement of 4,250 more jobs in New York City earlier this month.