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Albany loses big on government jobs during recession

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A Brookings report shows that Albany has struggled during the recession due to the loss of government jobs.

Only two other state capitals have lost more jobs than Albany during the recession - Phoenix and Boise.  Chris Churchill reports for the Times Union that a new Brookings study says that Albany has been disproportionately affected because so many jobs in the region are governmental:

Brookings says the Capital Region has lost 5,290 state government jobs during the economic downturn, a fall of 9.8 percent. Only six of the nation's 100 largest areas had a bigger loss. Many of the metros with higher percentage losses, such as Milwaukee or San Jose, are not centers of state employment in the way Albany is. "Most of those places have larger economies," Shearer said. "Albany is smaller and its economy is more dependent on jobs in state government." The report from Brookings, a Washington, D.C.-based research group, found that the Capital Region was among the 20 areas nationally recovering most slowly from the recession.

Bank boss letter

Industry concentration, giant pay packages and risky trading could cause another global economic crisis, according to M&T Bank CEO Robert Wilmers.  Jonathan Epstein writes in the Buffalo News that the letter is considered an essential read in the local banking community, and that this year it warns of "significant risks" to the American economy:

Specifically, he cautioned against the tendency to lump all banks into one bucket, without differentiating traditional commercial banks like M&T from the six largest financial institutions -- the so-called "money-center banks" -- whose riskier businesses and behaviors represent a danger to the economy. "To categorize such institutions as of the same species as traditional commercial banks is akin to describing dinosaurs as simple reptiles -- it is true but profoundly misleading," he wrote. "The public should not view them as indistinguishable, and government should not regulate and support them as if they were." He cited the growth of the six biggest banks into institutions whose collapse from poor decision-making could cause "systemic risk" to the economy.

Business grants

Epstein also reports in the News today that small and midsized businesses in western New York are eligible for up to $25,000 for job creation and retention:

The state program, called the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence, is designed to help companies upgrade or introduce new technology, address product development and testing challenges, and enhance continuous improvement programs. It is run locally by the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, through the Center for Industrial Effectiveness, which works with about 30 companies each year to help them obtain SPIR grant funds. The program is open to companies with 500 employees or fewer. The grant underwrites up to half of project costs but does not cover capital expenses.

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