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April 17, 2014

NY job growth trails nation again

E.J. McMahon

Dark = slow or no growth from 3/13 to 3/14

Job growth in the Empire State trailed the nation once again in March. New York’s 12-month increase in payroll jobs was 1.5 percent, compared to a 2 percent growth rate throughout the U.S, according to the state Department of Labor (DoL).

Ninety percent of New York’s net new private-sector jobs — 97,900 out of 108,200 — materialized in the downstate region (i.e., New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley up to the northern borders of Dutchess and Orange).

On a seasonally adjusted basis, New York State added no jobs at all between February and March, a period in which employment nationally grew by 0.2 percent.


Filed under: Economy, Uncategorized

April 16, 2014

One more business climate ranking

E.J. McMahon

New York has earned a poor grade on yet another ranking of state tax climates — this one issued by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) Council, a research and advocacy group based in Virginia.

SBE’s 2014 assessment of “best to worst tax climates” for states puts New York in 45th place, based on a state-by-state comparison of burdens imposed by 21 different taxes including income, capital gains, property, death, unemployment, and various consumption-based taxes, including state gas and diesel levies.


Filed under: Economy, Taxes

April 15, 2014

How competitive is NY? (cont’d…)

E.J. McMahon

New York State’s relative economic performance wasn’t so hot in the recent past — but its outlook for the future is worse, according to the just-released 7th Annual Rich States, Poor States report, an economic competitiveness index produced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The report—co-authored by noted supply-side economist Arthur Laffer Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams—ranks states in two ways.


Filed under: Economy, Taxes, Uncategorized

April 11, 2014

How competitive is New York?

E.J. McMahon

New York perennially lands at or near the bottom of state rankings based heavily on measures of government spending, taxes and regulatory burdens. However, taking account of other factors that play more to New York’s strengths, the Empire State’s ranking soared to 26th in the 13th Annual State Competitiveness Report, just issued by the Beacon Hill Institute of Boston, Ma.

The BHI’s index is derived from rankings on eight sub-indexes designed to represent factors considered important to promoting economic growth. Within those sub-indexes, the Empire State’s lowest rankings were 45th in Government & Fiscal Policy, which includes taxes and spending, and 50th in Infrastructure, which includes measures of housing affordability and energy costs as well as commuting times.


Filed under: Economy, Uncategorized

March 27, 2014

Broken record for upstate economy

E.J. McMahon

Year-over-year private job gains since 2/13; dark shading means job loss or no growth. NYSDOL map

Another month has brought another poor jobs growth report for upstate New York.

Today’s Labor Department release shows statewide private employment in February was up 1.6 percent over the same month a year earlier, trailing the national rate of 1.9 percent — a slightly smaller margin than in previous months. However, fully three quarters of the statewide job gain came in New York City, where private employment was up 88,700, or 2.6 percent. Another 17,300 jobs (15 percent of the statewide gain) were added on Long Island, boosted to at least some extent by the post-Sandy storm recovery. Continuing a recent trend, Putnam-Rockland-Westchester trailed the rest of downstate, adding 1,900 jobs for a 0.4 percent year-over-year growth rate.

In the 50-county upstate region (north of Dutchess and Orange), the reported year-over-year private job growth equated to a minuscule 0.33 percent, or 8,100 jobs.


Filed under: Economy, Uncategorized

March 12, 2014

Profits down but bonuses up on Wall Street

E.J. McMahon

Is Wall Street roaring back — as a revenue-generating force for New York’s insatiable state and city governments, that is?  You might get that impression from glancing at today’s press release from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, which headlines the finding that the average bonus for securities industry employees in New York “grew by 15 percent to $164,530 in 2013, which is the largest average bonus since the 2008 financial crisis, and the third highest on record.”

But as the release also makes clear, the spike in bonuses paid came during a year when the profits of securities firms actually dropped by 30 percent, to $16.7 billion from $23.9 billion. DiNapoli’s release calls last year’s profit total “still high by historical standards” — but that doesn’t adjust for inflation or market capitalization. (In straight nominal terms, 2013 profits don’t look far off the average for the late 1990s.)


Filed under: Economy, Wall Street

March 6, 2014

NY trails again in new job creation data

E.J. McMahon

New York State added private jobs at a slower pace than the nation as a whole during the 12-month period ending in January, according to data released today by the state Labor Department.

Year-to-year private job growth map from the state Labor Department

Statewide private employment as of January was up 1.7 percent from a year earlier, compared to 2.1 percent nationally.

Thanks to yet another month of strong job growth in New York City, private employment in the downstate region grew at a faster-than-average 2.5 percent clip. However, the 52 counties categorized as “upstate” by the Labor Department (including Dutchess and Orange, although they are within the downstate Metropolitan Commuter District) created jobs at a much more sluggish pace of just 0.5 percent.

The map at right illustrates a familiar pattern of growth and non-growth by county, with the darkest shadings indicating little or no increase in private-sector employment. The key table from the Labor Department press release is at the end of this post.

The regional variance in job growth continues a multi-year trend.


Filed under: Economy, Employment, Uncategorized

January 15, 2014

The Syracuse stadium fantasy

E.J. McMahon

Public subsidies of sports arenas, stadiums and ballparks “cannot be justified on the grounds of local economic development, income growth or job creation, those arguments most frequently used by subsidy advocates.” That’s the solid consensus view of economists, based on decades of evidence from scores of projects, as summarized in this 2008 paper. For a more recent take on the issue, see this April 2013 report presented to officials in Milwaukee, Wi., where the usual suspects are pushing for a new downtown arena.

All economic analyses aside, taxpayer-funded subsidies for sports facilities are just plain unfair, chiefly benefiting wealthy owners, sponsors and boosters of the teams that play in them, while diverting scarce resources from more basic public services and infrastructure needs.

But many politicians across the country remain suckers for the “if we build it, they will come” premise behind proposed sports developments, especially in struggling cities. Until yesterday, at least, New York State’s latest local sports facility subsidy scam had been taking shape in Syracuse, where Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney reportedly had Governor Cuomo’s pledge of state support for a partially county-funded $500 million arena that would serve mainly as a new showcase for the Orange of Syracuse University.


January 7, 2014

The State of the State’s job growth numbers

E.J. McMahon

In his fourth annual State of the State message tomorrow, Governor Andrew Cuomo will (naturally) seek to highlight the most positive aspects of New York’s economic performance under his leadership. As the Governor put it during a press conference yesterday previewing his tax agenda:

[W]e’ve added 380,000 private sector jobs since 2010. New York is number two in jobs created since the recession … We have more jobs today than at any time in history of the state of New York. Unemployment in every region is down from where we started three years ago, so all the arrows are pointed in the right direction.”

All of these statements are accurate — as far as they go. However, on closer examination, the employment numbers for New York paint a more mixed picture. Based on the latest available data from the state Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • New York State has grown more slowly than the national average since Governor Cuomo took office, largely as a result of a modest slowdown in job growth relative to the U.S. average during the past 18 months.
  • There continues to be a pronounced regional variation in economic performance. Thanks to strong growth downstate, especially in New York City, New York State ranks 21st out of 50 states in its rate of private job creation since November 2010. But if the 50 counties of upstate New York were a separate state, they would rank dead last during the same period.


December 19, 2013

NY’s job growth still below US rate

E.J. McMahon

New York’s monthly employment data continue to show a striking regional divergence in job-creation trends. According to today’s Labor Department report, as of November, year-to-year statewide private sector employment growth in New York slightly trailed the national average — with the economic weakness concentrated in upstate New York.

The key trends from the November report are summarized in the chart below.


Filed under: Economy, Uncategorized
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