Column by Mike Zagata for November 2, 2018.
Is Upstate Downbeat?
Blame Slow Recovery
According to a newly released report from the Empire Center for Public Policy, “New York’s Uneven Economic Recovery: A Tale of Two States,” those of us who live in Upstate New York escaped the real estate/housing bubble that led to the economic crash in 2008. Why? Because our economy was so bad that we didn’t experience a bubble like the rest of the country. How’s that for good news?
Since the economic downturn, the Governor has claimed he has grown the state’s economy back to recovery. Have you experienced a recovery? Here’s how he’s been able to make that claim.
According to the governor, “We created 1,000,000 jobs (since 2011). New York State today has more private-sector jobs than it has had in the history of the state. Period. Unemployment went from 8.5 to 4.2 percent, and the recovery was statewide. In the old days you would see New York City doing very well, and Upstate would be struggling. Look how even the recovery is all across the State.”
The data don’t support that claim. In fact, to the contrary, it shows a sharp and growing economic divide between Upstate and downstate. According to the “Report,”, “By any standard, Upstate New York’s economic recovery has been among the weakest of any region in the country”. Only West Virginia, Wyoming and Arkansas, coal and minerals-dependent economies, have fared poorer. According to the Report, New York’s annual rate of real GDP growth has been lower than the rate for ALL states in six of his first seven years in office.
New York City, followed by Long Island and the lower Hudson valley, suburbs for the City, has enjoyed the highest rate of job growth in the state. At the same time, Upstate has gained private-sector jobs at about one-third of the national rate.
Of the State’s 62 counties,
23 of them, all but one
Upstate, have yet to recover to their pre-crash private employment levels. Knowing this, the Governor banned fracking in an attempt to court the “green community” and stopped the pipelines that could have brought much-needed natural gas and jobs to our region.
Did the unemployment rate in Upstate really drop or was it made to look that way – remember the old “shell” game? Based upon information in the Report, total private-sector employment Upstate grew by 6.3 percent since 2010. That is about one-third the U.S. rate of growth (17.8 percent) and even worse than that for downstate (21.2 percent). The Southern Tier counties ranged from having a loss of jobs to zero-5 percent growth. Guess where we fell in the ranking?
According to the Report, the 48 up-state counties saw a drop in employment “by a combined total of 87,500 from August 2010 to August 2018. Yes, the unemployment rate Upstate fell, but only because the labor force in those counties decreased by 210,000 people” – a result of fewer people looking for work because they had either given up, left the state or both.
Mike Zagata, DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration and former environmental executive with Fortune 500 companies, lives in West Davenport
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, MAY 16
THE GATHERING PLACE – 2 p.m. Learn the story of the American Presidential Election of 1800 and how it changed the United States with Dr. Richard Sternberg, Village of Cooperstown Trustee. Woodside Hall, 1 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, Karen Cadwalader @ (607)547-0600.
BUDGET VOTE – 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Cast your ballot on the proposed school budget for the 2017-18 school year, choose the new board members, and cast your ballot on the bus lease program. Cooperstown High School rooms 304 & 305. Info, www.cooperstowncs.org/budget/
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 3
ART SHOW – 5-6:30 p.m. Art exhibit featuring works by students of the Oneonta City School District opens at Fox Care Center, Oneonta. Info, www.oneontacsd.org
DEBATE – 7 p.m. The Candidates for the CCS Board of Education will debate each other and answer questions from the audience. Hosted by the League of Women Voters. Jr./Sr. Library, Cooperstown High School. Info, www.cooperstowncs.org/league-of-women-voters-to-hose-board-of-education-candidates-debate/
CLIMATE CHANGE LECTURE – 7 p.m. “US Energy Transition: The Plight of Fossil Fuels and the Rise of Renewables.” A talk by Village Trustee Lou Alstadt on the urgent need to confront climate change by adopting a national carbon tax and dividend policy. Templeton Hall, 63 Pioneer St., Cooperstown. Info, Adrian Kuzminski, moderator, Sustainable Otsego, firstname.lastname@example.org
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, MAR. 21
VILLAGE ELECTION – Noon-9 p.m. Cooperstown residents will have the opportunity to vote on which candidates will become a Village Trustees. Cooperstown Fire hall. Info, cooperstownny.org/village-election-to-be-held-march-21-2017-noon-to-9pm-at-cooperstown-fire-hall-click-here-for-details/
COMMON COUNCIL – 7 p.m. Common Council Chambers, City Hall, 258 Main St., Oneonta. Info, City Clerk (607)432-6450
HIGH SCHOOL MID-WINTER CONCERT – 7:30-9 p.m. Auditorium, Cooperstown Central School, 39 Linden Ave., Cooperstown. Info, www.cooperstowncs.org
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, NOV. 8
Election day has arrived.
CLICK HERE to find polling locations in Otsego County.
For more information visit the Otsego County Board of Elections Website.
NATURE HIKE – 10 a.m. Free hike of Clark Tower Property. Open to public. Lasts approximately 2 hours. Bring water and a snack. Meet at Beaver Meadow Rd., Just South of Co. Rd. 52.
KNITTING GROUP – 1:30-3:30 p.m. Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. For more info CLICK HERE.
HAM DINNER – 4:30.-6:30 p.m. Eat in or Take Out. Cost, Donation. United Methodist Church, 82 Main St., Cherry Valley. Info, call (607) 264-3087