Unemployment rising even as jobs are added

Dec 17, 2010

Jobs numbers
The Post-Standard reports that unemployment was up in the Syracuse region after declining for half a year:

The increase occurred despite an overall gain of 800 jobs in the three-county area. The job gain would have been much greater if not for the loss of 1,700 government jobs, many probably tied to the state’s early-retirement incentive program.

The Buffalo News puts a positive spin on rising unemployment in the Buffalo-Niagara region:

While the local unemployment rate jumped to 8 percent last month, up from 7.5 percent in October and 7.9 percent in November 2009, Slenker said the increase was because more people in the region were looking for jobs.

Those job-seekers were lured into the job hunt because the local employment market has started to stabilize after a decline that has lasted for the better part of the last two years. While government jobs continue to vanish under the weight of tight budgets, private-sector hiring has increased for six straight months.

Hiring in Buffalo was up .3 percent over the previous year, with the area adding 1,600 jobs.  In Rochester, the Democrat and Chronicle reports that hiring was also up, with the region picking up 3,400 jobs.

Meanwhile in Albany, cuts in the public sector caused unemployment to rise.  The Times Union reports that the state has trimmed 3,800 jobs in the past year, with the region seeing a loss of 5,100 jobs total from November 2009 to November 2010.

BOCES overstepping its bounds?
Tech businesses are complaining that school districts' Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) have an unfair competitive advantage in providing cheaper tech support services, since they're subsidized by taxpayers.  The Times Union reports:

IT businesses based in the Capital Region, Buffalo and the North Country all say BOCES competition may force them to shut their doors. They say taxpayers are the ones who will pay the price.

For example, the Indian Lake Central School District recently canceled a $20,000 contract with a local firm for phone services because BOCES offered the same service for $19,000, according to information submitted to the state attorney general's office for review. Upon closer inspection, the true cost charged to taxpayers by BOCES in this instance was $60,000 because BOCES used a $41,000 state grant to give the district a deal.

Start-up seed fund
Yesterday we reported that the University of Rochester and the state's economic development corporation, Empire State Development, are teaming up to directly fund start-ups upstate.  The Democrat and Chronicle has a look at the initiative as well:

New York's economic development efforts traditionally have revolved around tax breaks and grants to more mature businesses in exchange for guarantees of job growth. Gov. David Paterson pitched the idea of a state seed fund, but the idea never went further.

The seed fund idea "does run sort of counter to traditional public funding where we need assurances," Morelle said. "The alternative is we don't play well in this space and lose a lot of opportunities for the region."

Dimock update
Homeowners in Dimock, Pa. are still reeling from the announcement that the gas company that allegedly polluting their wells during its drilling operations will pay a cash settlement.  The Press & Sun-Bulletin reports some families are pleased with the result, others are upset that the state settled without consulting them.

Mea culpa
The Thruway Authority continues its apologies for decisions that left drivers trapped in their cars for nearly a day during a lake effect white out.  The Buffalo News reports that the authority is promising to change policy to prevent the fiasco from being repeated, including allowing closure decisions to be made locally.

Party time! (Or not)
Details of governor-elect Andrew Cuomo's inauguration have been released.  The Times Union reports everything is expected to be low-key:

Other than a two-hour open house at the Governor's Mansion, there will be no real public celebrations -- or private ones, for that matter.

"This is not a time for the grand and expensive celebrations of the recent past," Cuomo said in a prepared statement outlining the schedule. By Sunday, Jan. 2, Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy expect to be at "work in the State Capitol."

The paper doesn't report whether or not the public has to bring a dish to pass to the open house, but I wouldn't be surprised.

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