Empire Center for
New York State Policy
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May 16, 2013
The latest economic data for New York continues to relate a tale of two states. Private sector employment growth in New York as a whole slightly trailed the national average on a year-to-year basis, but was much stronger in the New York City metropolitan area. The 52-county upstate region grew at just half the national rate from April 2012 to April 2013, according to today’s monthly jobs release from the state Labor Department.
12-month job change. Darker shading=less growth
The state added 137,000 jobs, a gain of 1.9 percent during a period when the nation was growing 2 percent. Fifty-seven percent of the net new private jobs were created in New York City, which grew at a rate of 2.5 percent. The strongest job growth (2.9 percent) was in Nassau-Suffolk–which may, in part, reflect ongoing reconstruction and recovery from Superstorm Sandy. The fastest-growing private-sector job category (up 43,100) was educational and health services, which also heavily dependent on federal, state and local government subsidies. The next fastest-growing, business and professional services, has been strongest in New York City in recent years.
May 14, 2013
CEOs apparently aren't buying it.
Maybe the nation’s CEOs don’t watch enough TV, or perhaps they lack a sufficient appreciation for Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.
Whatever the reason, respondents to Chief Executive magazine’s ninth annual survey of ”Best and Worst States for Business“ ranked New York among the worst at 49th, unchanged from last year. Other bottom-dwellers included California (#50), Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut. The top-rated states: Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.
April 18, 2013
Dark = not so hot
Private employment in New York State grew by just 1.3 percent in March on a year-over-year basis, compared to the nation’s 1.9 percent growth during the same period, according to today’s employment report from the state Labor Department.
Continuing a longer-term trend, virtually all the job growth has occurred downstate, concentrated in New York City and Long Island, which grew by 1.8 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively. However, private employment in the Westchester-Rockland-Putnam region of the lower Hudson Valley has grown by just 0.5 percent since March 2012.
Upstate’s growth over the past year is also just 0.5 percent. The Elmira, Binghamton and Utica areas all lost private jobs in the past year, and Rochester’s growth rate was zero, the new data indicate, while only Glens Falls (+1/.9 percent) and Kingston (up 2.9 percent) among upstate labor markets managed to match the national rate, and only Ithaca (at 1.7 percent) exceeded the statewide rate.
New York’s unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, compared to the national rate of 7.6 percent in March. The unemployment picture is the mirror image of job growth; the highest unemployment was concentrated in New York City (8.9 percent), while the number in the rest of the state is closer to the national average at 7.7 percent.
March 27, 2013
The left-of-center Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) was absolutely wrong in pushing to raise New York’s minimum wage — but absolutely right about the problems with the state “minimum wage reimbursement credit.”
Bad policy begets more bad policy (so, FPI guys, you ultimately have yourselves to blame!). But there’s really no excuse for what Senate Republicans cooked up here in the name of “compromise”: a tax subsidy covering a portion of the wage increase for minimum-wage workers aged 16 to 19 employed by small firms. As FPI points out, this will create a disincentive to hire older workers and a disincentive to raise wages above the new minimum for younger workers.
To make matters worse, since the budget bills are not accompanied by an updated financial plan, no one knows for sure what the tax credit will cost. Current estimates are $20 million to $40 million.*
* The Senate did release this financial summary “fact sheet,” but it does not break out the year-by-year revenue impact of tax changes — which, after all, would expose the extent to which the laws passed with the budget represent a net tax hike over the next five years.
March 7, 2013
Even as the state Assembly was voting yesterday to extend a moratorium on hydrofracking of gas shale deposits in upstate New York, new economic reports were showing the benefits of fracking in nearby states.
The evidence comes from the Federal Reserve’s latest survey of regional economic trends, better known as the Beige Book.*
The Fed’s Philadelphia district reported that manufacturing industry contacts “attributed some growth to rising demand from sectors related to autos, housing, Marcellus shale, and other energy production.”
The state Labor Department’s annual re-benchmarked payroll job data is out today — and it doesn’t look good for much of New York.
In 2012, private-sector employment in the Empire State grew by 1.8 percent, compared to the nation’s 2.2 percent. That almost precisely reverses the numbers of the previous year, when the Empire State grew slightly faster than the nation as a whole.
March 4, 2013
In line with New York’s motto — “Excelsior” — the state assumes its tax receipts are headed ever upward.
Late last week, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders announced they had agreed to a consensus forecast adding $200 million to the combined receipts already budgeted for fiscal years 2012-13 (which ends on March 31) and 2013-14. Cuomo’s Executive Budget already had assumed healthy tax receipts growth of 4.8 percent— so the consensus simply pushes the envelope a little further out there, in an arguably riskier direction.
February 27, 2013
Carl Schramm, entrepreneurially minded economist and professor at Syracuse University, worries that “economic amnesia” may hinder the long-term recovery prospects of Syracuse — and, by implication, other once-dynamic upstate cities.
Writing in Forbes, Schramm notes that the Syracuse of the 19th and early 20th centuries relied on home-grown talent to become an economic dynamo — a place variously known as the Candle City, the Crafts City, the China City and the Gear City for its innovative methods of producing everything from tapers to motors. Today, Syracuse is afflicted with a heavy tax burden and high poverty rates, which in term threaten the long-term fiscal stability of its city government.
February 13, 2013
Stop us if you’ve heard this one: “We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year … [A] family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong.”
If that line from President Obama’s State of the Union address last night sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve heard very similar assertions from advocates of a higher minimum wage in New York. So Obama has picked up the same theme in pushing for an increase in the nationwide minimum, to $9 an hour.
But here’s the thing: thanks to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), no full-time minimum-wage worker with a family has to remain below the poverty line. An estimated 26 million households across the country claimed $55 billion in earned income credits in 2010, and the Internal Revenue Service says the EITC has lifted nearly 7 million people out of poverty. New York State spends another $1 billion a year to supplement the federal credit with its own exceptionally generous EITC for low-income workers. (more…)
November 2, 2012
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The Food Stamp Program has changed its name to SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — an appropriate moniker, since in current economic conditions, states are making it a snap to qualify.