Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Central New York's economy fairs better than nationwide

Unemployment rates nationwide have hovered near the double digit mark for the past several months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But central New York's economy, while by no means thriving, is better than the national average. Jerry Evensky, Professor of Economics at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University says part of the reason CNY has stayed above the curve is its steady housing market which was listed as one of the strongest real estate markets in the nation last year, according to

"Central New York never went so down as far as the overall economy..." Evensky says. "I mean we didn't get hit as hard because we didn't get caught up in so much of the crisis. Our housing didn't go whacko--either up or down--so we've sort of like muddled along, which turned out to be a good thing."

Unemployment rates were at 8.2 percent in Syracuse in December, 2009, while the nation as a whole saw it's rates hit 10.0 percent that month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But new data released by leading economic research firms including IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’, all report an estimated 1.6 to 1.8 million jobs created since the economic stimulus bill was implemented in the U.S. Evensky's not sure of that data, but says the stimulus bill has saved about two million jobs.

"It depends on how you look at it," Evensky says. "Let me put it this way: the numbers are a little bit obscure, but I think [the stimulus bill has] been significantly helpful. I think more would be better, personally. And they haven't spent all the money from it, so there is more there."

Not only are portions of 2009's stimulus bill still waiting to be spent, Congress is now considering adding a new smaller stimulus bill, the "jobs bill." As it's being called the spending from this bill will focus primarily on job creation. A version of it was passed in the House of Representatives in December, and it is currently under consideration in the Senate.

"The politics of it are it's very small as of now, so it probably won't have a big effect," Evensky says. "If they get a big one through, I think that'd be good. But the one they're talking about, because of the way the Senate works--60 votes--it's probably going to be very small."

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