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This year's economic forecast? Steady as she goes, maybe better

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.

Personal income levels in central New York have moved closer to being on par with the national average, but an economic forecast report for the region predicts poor labor force quality will hinder stronger improvement.

M&T Bank’s Gary Keith says getting growth in the region’s manufacturing sector on par with the rest of the country will be important too.

"What we really have to focus on is getting number at least flat-lined and hopefully improved so we don’t have sort of the leaking of air out of the balloon that we’ve had over the last year and before," he told a few hundred business leaders at an annual breakfast.

A weak labor market and decline in manufacturing remain hurdles to better growth.

CenterState president Rob Simpson says he’s urging business owners to capitalize on improving national and global economies.

"The significant progress we’ve made and the opportunity that’s in front of us and to try to encourage people to take a little more risk and capture as much of that opportunity as they can," he said.

He says proposals in Albany to reduce business taxes could be promising for growth.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
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