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Rising employment could end benefits for New York jobless

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Benefits for New York's jobless could trickle away - thanks to better employment numbers.

A dip in New York's unemployment rate will trigger the loss of benefits for 80,000 to 92,000 of the state's jobless, reports Charles McChesney at the Post-Standard:

At 7.9 percent, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is a tenth of a percent below the 8 percent level that triggers federal assistance, said Karen Knapik-Scalzo, associate economist in the Labor Department’s Syracuse office. For two years, unemployed New Yorkers have been eligible for extended benefits because the state’s jobless rate has been higher than 8 percent. With state unemployment benefits, funded by taxes on employers, plus federally funded extensions, some unemployed workers have collected payments for more than 90 weeks. That’s coming to an end, Morrissey said. Someone who lost a job last week is eligible for 46 weeks of unemployment insurance. Someone who filed today would be eligible for 26 weeks of state unemployment assistance and one week of extended benefits, he said, for a total of 27 weeks.

On another benefits note: Joann S. Lublin and Dana Mattioli report at the Wall Street Journal that if gay couples working for Raytheon and IBM want to keep their same-sex partner benefits, they'll have to get married, now that gay marriage is about to be legal in NYS:

At both Raytheon and IBM, employees in heterosexual relationships must also be wed for partners to receive benefits. Raytheon, a Waltham, Mass.-based defense contractor, has less than 100 employees in New York, and it is difficult to determine how many might be affected by a shift in policy, according to a spokesman. Employees will get a grace period of several months before they have to wed, the spokesman said, in keeping with the company's policy in other states that allow gay marriage. The case is similar at IBM.

Demolition continues at Syracuse's Carrier Corp., reports Kenneth Sturtz at the Post-Standard.  By the end of the summer 1.2 million square feet of empty factory space will be gone.

If the governor signs on to the bill, New York could soon have a new way for businesses to incorporate: as "benefit corporations."  Maryellen Tighe reports at the Bufffalo News that the classification is for companies that consider the public good, along with the bottom line:

Benefit corporations must focus on some public benefit, rather than entirely on profits, as current corporations are required to do, said Heather Van Dusen from B Lab, a group that works to solve social and environmental problems through business. She spoke Tuesday at a pan-el for the Partnership for the Public Good in Buffalo. “The current corporate structures in America don’t work for the kind of economy that we need to move towards,” Van Dusen said. “Current corporate law doesn’t allow for companies to push for [public benefits]. It really restricts them, and it puts them in this pigeonhole that says they have to be focused on the bottom line . . . Companies across the country don’t want that.”

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is celebrating its success in getting the "employer perspective" represented in Albany during the last election cycle (David Robinson, Buffalo News).

Agro Farma, the maker of Chobani Greek yogurt, is getting an $18 million tax break from Empire State Development, for the purchase of new equipment (Traci DeLore, Greater Binghamton Business Journal).

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