economy

New York State Comptroller's Office / New York State Department of Labor

A recently released report from the New York state Comptroller's office finds that upstate is lagging behind the rest of the state in recovering the jobs lost during and after the Great Recession. 

Missile Defense Agency

 

If you’ve ever wondered what happens at a place full of huge missiles, Nathaniel Gill with the Missile Defense Agency said on the outside it’s pretty quiet, but indoors computers pick up signals from everything being launched into the air all over the world. If a threat was on its way to the U.S., a ballistic missile kept underground will shoot into the air.

Coyote Moon

 

Coyote Moon Vineyards, in the Thousand Islands, has won New York Winery of the Year. The family-owned business from Clayton has earned hundreds of awards in the eight years it’s been making wine.

Coyote Moon is the winery that first brought canned wine to the North Country. Owner Tony Randazzo said the decision to can their wine illustrates the family's mission behind their company. They aim to be creative and unpretentious.

St. Lawrence Spirits

The Clayton Town Planning Board will allow St. Lawrence Spirits to launch their distillery on Route 12E in the Thousand Islands.

The decision comes days after a state Supreme Court ruled that the proposed location for the distillery does not violate zoning laws.

The lawsuit against St. Lawrence Spirits and the town of Clayton was filed by neighbors who claimed the business was too close to their homes. They fear noise from the planned inn, restaurant and distillery would be a problem.

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

The Jefferson County town of Hounsfield, near Sackets Harbor, may allow a Dollar General store to move in later this year, despite opposition. The town's planning board will meet Tuesday to consider a proposal to build the store at the intersection of Route 3 and County Route 75.

More than 100 residents have signed an online petition to stop the development.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

 

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), sporting protective ear plugs to block out the whirling of machines, shakes hands with workers on the factory floor of New York Air Brake in Watertown. It's the senator's first visit to the company, which has made brake systems for the railroad industry for over a century.

As Schumer pauses to study the heavy metal contraptions that make trains stop and slow down, company officials explain what he’s seeing. 

Members of an anti-drug nonprofit  in Watertown head to Capitol Hill this week. The group wants U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer to help fight the heroin crisis and the ways its affecting Jefferson County. 

Since 2011, there have been 79 deaths caused by heroin and opiate overdose in Jefferson County.

Anita Seefried-Brown’s own son died of a heroin overdose a day after he turned  33. He left a young daughter behind.

She says addiction is a disease, and it hurts more than just friends and families of the addicted.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) visited the home of Philadelphia brand cream cheese in Lowville Wednesday. While parent company Kraft-Heinz was in the midst of closing plants nationwide last week, the company recently it would hire 100 new workers at the plant.  Schumer told those already employed their jobs are secure.

Inside the Lowville cream cheese plant, the sweet heavy scent of cream is ever present.  Down a hallway, a  group of workers in blue uniforms and clear plastic caps spill out of a full room to hear from Schumer. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

While supporters are declaring victory over New York’s new higher minimum wage for fast food workers, the action, by a state wage board, highlights a larger question why are so many in the state dependent for their livelihoods on what are essentially entry level work force jobs.

The victory celebration by fast food workers and the state’s major union leaders also featured Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor, who appointed the board when Republicans in the legislature were reluctant to act, predicts more actions to come.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

This weekend kicks off the summer travel season. And according to one travel group, it’s going to be a busy one.

Every year, AAA does a survey of members to find out if they’re traveling over Memorial Day. Results this year show it will the busiest Memorial Day on the road in the last decade, according to AAA of Western and Central New York Spokeswoman Diana Dibble. Estimates are that 32 million Americans will hit the road, in large part because of an improving economy and lower gas prices. This could bode well for a busy summer overall.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

With some successes but little political momentum, organized labor and low wage workers are continuing to call for a $15 minimum wage. 

Brittany Buffman once earned minimum wage in a job at the dining halls of Syracuse University. She says union efforts to pump pay the college allowed her and her husband to buy a house and raise a family.

wamc.org

Amid talks to raise the minimum wage in New York, farmers are calling on the lawmakers to keep it where it is.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to increase the minimum wage to $10.50 upstate and $11.50 downstate.

The New York Farm Bureau says the state has some of the highest agricultural labor costs in the country. They say farm workers in New York are paid $12.15 an hour on average.

Dean Norton, a farmer in western New York and president of the state Farm Bureau, says whenever there’s a minimum wage hike, he’s forced to raise his wages, too.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Going in to 2015, there is more confidence in central New York’s economy to be found in an annual business survey.

Last year, there was only limited optimism among economists and business leaders for economic growth in the region. But CenterState CEO president Rob Simpson says he has much more confidence for 2015.

Ken Lund / Flickr

With less than five weeks to go until Election Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says upstate New York is much improved economically from when he came into office four years ago.

Cuomo said the impact of large-scale investments throughout upstate, including the famed "Buffalo Billion," designed to create thousands of jobs in the western portion of the state, are rejuvenating the economy.

Gillibrand pushes for bill to cut student loan rates

May 14, 2014
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

As the debt load of recent college graduates continues to rise, New York's junior senator is stumping for a new bill that will cut the interest rate on federal student loans by nearly half.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is one of about two dozen Democrats backing a bill that will reduce the loan rate on undergraduate loans to about 3.8 percent, from the nearly seven percent they sit at now. The bill would also bring down the interest rates for graduate school loans.

There is a looming skills gap between available jobs in New York and the training needed to fill them, according to a new report.

The report, by Ready Nation/America’s Edge found that by 2020, there will be 350,000 available jobs in the state that New Yorkers won’t have the skills needed to fill. They’re mid-level skilled jobs that require some advanced education, like an associate degree or certificate.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A new poll finds the majority of New Yorkers say they aren't better off now than they were four years ago, but these sentiments do not seem to be hurting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s chances for reelection.

The Siena poll asked voters whether they felt things were better now under Cuomo than they were before he was governor. It found that in several key areas including business climate, taxes, corruption and public education, less than a quarter think the situation has improved.

Joanna Richards

As with many small cities, Watertown’s downtown has been decaying for years, with boarded-up buildings and businesses dwindling.

Now, a handful of big projects are reviving the historical structures at the center of town, and some new small businesses are thriving. But some say the city could be doing more to encourage growth.

Joanna Richards / WRVO

Since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel detailed his proposal for deep military cutbacks Monday, officials in Watertown have been trying to divine what that could mean for Fort Drum. They believe the Army post is well-positioned – but that doesn’t mean it won’t take a hit.

The military is already in downsizing mode as the war in Afghanistan winds down. But Hagel’s plan calls for deeper cuts, including shrinking the Army to its smallest size since before World War II.

Joanna Richards

Hospitals around the country are all under the same pressures: a turn toward outpatient and preventive care, low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, and increasing regulations. It’s the same in Carthage. 

New York in the World

Feb 13, 2014

Join us Sunday, February 16 for an encore presentation of New York in the World. This documentary brings you stories of union workers in Buffalo, fashion designers in New York City, and farmers in the Finger Lakes - all talking about how they've found a place amid today's new economic realities.

From Niagara Falls to Long Island, from the North Country to the Southern Tier, Upstate, Downstate... we are nearly twenty million.

Joanna Richards

The Defense Department has named Fort Drum as one of four military installations to house a possible East Coast missile defense facility. 

Joanna Richards / WRVO

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says the nation’s workplace policies are out of date and don’t reflect increasing women’s employment – and their roles as family caregivers. Gillibrand was in Watertown yesterday to make the case for paid family and medical leave.

Students and reporters jostled in a student lounge as Jefferson Community College president Carole McCoy introduced the senator. Gillibrand told the crowd of several dozen that her legislation would provide financial security to people dealing with the birth of a child, or sick or dying family members.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has five proposals she believes will boost the economy, all centered around women, which she says are the key to a growing economy.

At Syracuse University’s Maxwell School last week, Gillibrand outlined her American Opportunity Agenda, saying that the things that can help women succeed, and therefore the economy, begin with increasing the minimum wage.

Central New York’s major economic booster group is predicting the region’s economy this year will be more of the same, maybe a little bit better.

Businesses in central New York are only slightly bullish about economic growth in CenterState CEO’s annual economic survey.

The pro-business group teams up with M&T Bank to put out the forecast. The bank foresees the economy will grow slightly more than it did last year. The region has seen 17 straight quarters of growth.

Joanna Richards

The growth of Fort Drum and its fluctuating soldier population have always complicated the housing market around Watertown. But the Army post throws another factor into the mix: soldier’s housing allowances. They just went up.

As of January 1, the Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH, rates across the military went up an average of 5 percent. In the Fort Drum area, it’s up around 13 percent. Junior enlisted soldiers have gone from receiving $948 per month to $1,071 per month, to cover the cost of housing and utilities.    

Joanna Richards

Governor Andrew Cuomo visited a newly expanded snowmobiler lounge in Lowville Monday to unveil a new ad campaign to promote winter tourism upstate. Cuomo says there’s new energy in the north country, thanks to increasing economic investment. He credits the efforts of both the region and his administration in making that happen.  

Money to expand drone hangar at Fort Drum

Dec 30, 2013
David Sommerstein

Not long after a military drone crashed into Lake Ontario in November, the program that aircraft belonged to is getting a boost with funding from the 2014 defense spending bill signed into law last week. The money will go toward expanding a storage and maintenance facility at Fort Drum.   

Joanna Richards

The North Country Family Health Center, in Watertown, is still working to gain long-term financial stability after nearly closing in October. Now, another Watertown health care provider is getting a bailout to stay afloat. This time, it’s Family Counseling Service of Northern New York. 

Drum numbers likely dropping – but no cause for alarm

Dec 12, 2013
Joanna Richards

The Watertown area’s economy is heavily dependent on Fort Drum. With the federal budget sequester on and the Afghanistan war winding down, the numbers of soldiers assigned to the post and civilians working there is likely to decrease. But the outlook is more complicated than just doom and gloom.

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