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Cayuga County leaders provide economic outlook

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Cayuga County leaders provide economic outlook
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It is the time of year when leaders in government and business gather to predict what type of year lies ahead. Cayuga County officials have held their annual economic forecast meeting. YNN's Bill Carey says the outlook is good…but not great.

AUBURN, N.Y. -- Like cities across the nation, it has been a tough few years for Auburn. The recession and its aftermath have taken their toll across Cayuga County.

But, gathering in Auburn for a discussion of what lies ahead in 2013, business leaders are expressing optimism.

“The amount of investment that we've had in job creation in Cayuga County over the last year and into this coming year is outstanding. We're talking a hundred million plus, in terms of investment, over 300 jobs,” said Andrew Fish, Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

The leaders are being told that there is slow, but steady growth ahead in the months to come.

And at luncheons, like this, in communities across the nation, the question is the same: When will the economic recovery arrive in full force?

The short answer, after talking to business managers is, not yet.

“They expect to hire in 2013. They expect to make capital investments. But, nobody's expecting double digit growth in Central New York in the course of the coming year,” said Robert Simpson, CNY Regional Economic Development Council Chairman.

In Cayuga County they're focusing on what they believe are three potential growth areas: Agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. All of those sectors are showing solid improvements. But, as the recovery continues to limp along, it's become tougher and tougher to attract the big projects that might be game changers.

“Every job that's available, everyone in the country is trying to capture that for their own town or village or city, as we are. So, it's very competitive. We really have to be on our game all the time,” said Michael Quill, (D) Auburn mayor.

“2013 is marginally better than 2012, which was marginally better than 2011, which was marginally better than 2010. I wish it were different. I wish we could figure out a way to break out of that mold and see faster growth,” said Simpson.

But, after a long recession, any growth is welcome.

The latest state report on unemployment for Cayuga County put the jobless rate in December at 8.3 percent. That is up from 7. 8 percent a year before.

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