Despite construction and ribbon cuttings, Syracuse lags in job creation

Jul 21, 2014

The sight of cranes in the air, and shovels in the ground abound in central New York this summer.  That doesn’t jive though, with the latest job figures from New York state that the Syracuse area continues to lose jobs at an alarming rate.

The latest figures from the New York State Labor Department show that Syracuse and vicinity lost the most jobs last month than any other metro area in the state. And the region has been losing jobs monthly since February -- the most, 2,700 in May.  Onondaga County was even mentioned in a Wall Street Journal Story about how factory jobs are rebounding regionally, and the Syracuse area has been left in the dust.    

Yet over the last couple of weeks, there have been groundbreakings, grand openings and news of business expansion.

Rob Simpson is head of CenterState CEO and the Central New York Reigonal Business Council and his job is to bring jobs to the community.         

"We have some fundamental challenges in the economy,” said Simpson. “There’s no one who gets more frustrated than I do, when you look at growth beginning to pick up across the country, and not see that growth here."

Simpson answered a question about the jobs situation during a groundbreaking of the new Upstate Cancer Center, that’s going to add 100 jobs to the Syracuse economy, and said he understands the disparity.

But he also believes the economy is headed in the right direction, especially in relationship to the cost of doing business in New York state, pointing specifically to new state tax incentives, as well as creation of regional economic councils that propose economic projects.

"I think the reality is that our strategy as a region remains sound. We are beginning seeing some progress in the overall sort of cost of doing business, and the regulatory environment in New York State, with some significant changes in the budget in the last year,” said Simpson.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says it may be just a case of the inevitable lapse between the announcement of jobs and the actuality of those jobs coming to fruition. And at a groundbreaking in Dewitt for a nano-technology center, she says if that’s the case, job creation is actually moving at a swift pace.

"To announce in March that this was going to happen, and to be here today for a groundbreaking is almost unheard of in politics. So I would hope that we’re very close to seeing the real benefit that all of upstate New York has had, because of these regional economic development councils and this collaboration,” said Mahoney.

Some economic development officials in the area believe, that while central New York may be lagging when compared to the economic recovery of other parts of the country, that it will catch up.  

“Those are jobs that are on the horizon.  There are cranes in the air, there’s buildings being built, there’s presidents of companies coming from all over the United States to say that we’re going to create these jobs in central New York. And I think you’ll see some of that benefit,” said Mahoney.