Rochester has one of the slowest-growing economies in the country. We ranked second-to-last in a U.S. Conference of Mayor’s report on metro economies. Rochester’s Real Gross Metro Product (GMP) actually shrank .8 percent in 2013. That places us above only Poughkeepsie.
The report predicts our average annual economic growth rate through 2020 will remain painfully slow at 1.7 percent. Employment in Rochester inched up only .5 percent in 2013. The report predicts Rochester will regain its pre-recession employment peak in the third quarter of this year. (We lost 18,500 jobs since 2008!)
This poor showing could be explained by something we often hear: “Rochester don’t experience the high highs or the low lows.” One could say we’re doing pretty well, considering the gigantic shift in our economy from one dominated by the Big Three to one dominated by small businesses and health and educational institutions. But at what point does that stop being an excuse?
There are some positives in the report. Rochester still has roughly the same size economy as Buffalo, a larger metro. (Our GMP is $47 billion. Buffalo’s is $47.5 billion. The two metros each have a 3.8 percent share of New York’s Gross State Product.)
Rochester has a sizable economy for a city our size. If Rochester was a country, our economy would be ranked between Ethiopia and Slovenia. If we were a state, our economy would be ranked between North Dakota and South Dakota.
The report notes that metro economies are important:
Metropolitan areas continued to be the beating heart of the US economy in 2013. They were home to 84% of the nation’s population, 86% of total non-farm employment, 87% of total real income, 90% of new housing starts, and 90% of real gross domestic product. And they are expanding: total metropolitan employment climbed by 1.9% last year, real gross product increased by 2.1%, and metropolitan area population rose by 0.9%, with each growth rate faster than that of the US.
Rochester – and other Upstate cities – are clearly not enjoying the same momentum as other metros. Why is growth so slow? What will it take to jump start our economy?
Links of the Day:
– The number of teen mothers has dropped 40 percent in Rochester.
– A lawsuit is planned in New York to challenge teacher tenure laws. One of the potential plaintiffs lives in Rochester. (In Rochester today, the governor said he had no position on a lawsuit, but said the teacher evaluation system he’s “pushing aggressively” addresses the issue of bad teachers.)
– Rochester has the most homeless school children among Upstate cities.
– Medical marijuana in New York is really complicated. For starters, you have to pay cash.
– CSX opposes high-speed rail on its tracks.
– Experts question the benefits of going gluten-free for most people. Gluten-free food often has more sugar and less fiber and vitamins.
– Costco has been named the most LGBT company. A Costco store is slated to open in Rochester this fall.
– Wegmans assures Irish minister it will continue to carry Irish foods.
Tweets of the Day:
— Roc Intl Jazz Fest (@XRIJF) June 24, 2014
— VisitIthaca (@VisitIthaca) June 23, 2014