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Central New York's 2013 economy may be "instant replay" of 2012

Emma Jacobs
Despite their dramatic difference in height, co-chairs Rob Simpson (center) and Nancy Cantor (to his right) say they're on the same page about the competitiveness of Central New York's regional council.

The main economic booster engine for central New York is predicting economic growth in the region in 2013 will look a lot like last year.

CenterState CEO released its annual business survey and economic outlook - which it does in partnership with M&T Bank - on Thursday morning at a breakfast for business leaders.

Many of those same business leaders predicted some growth for the economy this year, but not at the pace many would like. Half of those surveyed said job growth would increase this year. And nearly half - 47 percent - predicted an increase in capital investments, like expansions.

But that may not be enough to trigger a major growth spurt for the chunk of upstate New York within CenterState's reach - 12 counties that stretch from the North Country into the Finger Lakes.

Gary Keith, a regional economist for M&T Bank, predicted a 2 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for 2013. That's the rate the GDP grew in central New York in 2012.

It's shaping up to be an "instant replay," says CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson.

"I think our challenge as a community is figuring out how we can accelerate that growth. Growing at a rate below the national average is not something that any of us are going to be satisfied with," he says.

CenterState's forecast is a little more optimistic than a survey released by First Niagara Bank earlier this week, that looked at all of upstate New York.

"The overall tone of the report is not widely optimistic, it’s cautious optimism. And I think that’s what people should expect this year," Simpson says.

In his address, Simpson touched on Syracuse's high rate of poverty and poor high school graduation rates as major hurdles to economic growth. He also cited the region's urban sprawl as a hindrance to the recent rebound of downtown Syracuse.

Simpson also renewed the importance of a push on exporting as a way to boost the economy; something CenterState unveiled last spring.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
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