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Central New York economy behind the pack

Ellen Abbott
The yearly Economic Forecast Breakfast, sponsored by CenterState CEO in Syracuse, showed that central New York’s economy continues to tread water.";

Central New York’s economy continues to lag behind others across the country and in upstate, according to the CenterState CEO annual economic forecast. 

The organization's yearly Economic Forecast Breakfast showed a picture of slight economic growth and a community that’s lagging behind other upstate regions.

Gary Keith, the Regional Economist for M&T Bank says the outlook for 2017 is a lot like it was for 2016. He says the economy expanded last year, but it’s growth was still substantially behind that of other parts of the country and upstate. And Keith expects a similar kind of growth this year.

Keith says while central New York’s growth remains under 2 percent, the story is very different for other parts of upstate. Albany and Buffalo have seen growth in the neighborhood of 10 percent. Keith says that growth comes from businesses and communities that are taking a chance.

"The areas that have moved ahead of central New York have been taking risks," Keith said. "They’ve been willing to say 'I’m not comfortable, but I’m going to doing it anyway.’ And moving into new areas they had not been previously embracing. And that’s part of growth. To stay where you doesn’t move you forward. And I do think that’s what central New York’s issues have been.” 

There are some bright notes looking forward. For example, Keith says there has been growth in income and demographics are showing more young people in the area. But ultimately, he says the way out of the area's economic stagnation will come from embracing a new economy, full of entrepreneurs willing to take risks in a number of areas ranging from finance, to tourism, to education.

“Good things can happen and they feed on themselves when they do," Keith said. "And I think that’s what this region needs to do is get a few success stories. It’ll give that civic attitude that things can change.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.