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Mullen regrets not creating more jobs, and a bonus for GM workers

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An economic development official's parting wish: that he'd put more men to work.

Nick Reisman at Gannett reports that the departing head of Empire State Development has some regrets as he leaves the agency:

"My time was great. I enjoyed every day. Second, I think we did accomplish a lot," Mullen said after testifying before a legislative budget committee on economic development. But he said the lack of job growth was troubling. "Thing that we didn't accomplish is not every citizen of the state of New York is employed and that's a tough reality ... you sleep with that," he said.

Mullen decided not to stay on during the Cuomo administration but has been serving until his replacement, Ken Adams, formerly of the Business Council, takes office.

The Buffalo News has a wire story that hourly GM workers will get a big payout as part of a profit-sharing plan at the automaker:

At Ford Motor Co., which operates the Buffalo Stamping Plant in the Town of Hamburg, factory workers will each get a $5,000 bonus, the first such checks since 1999. Ford avoided bankruptcy and did not get a government bailout. It made $6.6 billion last year. It also plans to pay performance bonuses to white-collar workers, but it would not reveal the amounts. GM operates an engine plant in the Town of Tonawanda and a former Delphi plant in Lockport. "On the whole, we made tremendous progress last year," CEO and Chairman Dan Akerson said in an e-mail message to employees announcing the payments on Monday. "With our collective teamwork, this can be just the beginning."

Syracuse-area Anaren Microwave has purchased California firm AML Communications for $29.3 million, reports Douglass Dowty at the Post-Standard.

Growing sales tax receipts
Sales tax revenues are on the increase in central New York, reports Rick Moriarty at the Post-Standard:

Total sales tax revenues in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties shot up 5.2 percent last year, bringing a total of $406.9 million into the coffers of county government — $20.3 million more than in 2009. Economists consider government sales tax revenues a strong measure of the economy because it reflects people’s ability and willingness to spend money. “In the minds of the consumer, if they think things are better, they’re willing to spend more,” said Roger Evans, an economist with the state Department of Labor’s Syracuse office.

Half empty or half full?
Scott Shane at Small Business Trends has a round-up of "small business optimism" indices, with competing opinions about how business owners are feeling:

In short, the pulse takers disagree about how optimistic small business owners are these days, and few think they are as optimistic as they were before the recession. Perhaps we should take solace in the fact that the surveyors no longer all agree that small business owner pessimism is at record levels.'

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