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The Business Page

Welcome to the business page, a blog where I'll take you behind the scenes of greater Rochester's fast-changing economy. My name is Ben Rand, and I intend to introduce you to some of the personalities, concepts and events that make news in business here. I've been a business reporter for eight years in Rochester and a journalist for 18, working in four states. I grew up in Pittsford, but moved away after college for about a decade. My wife and I live in Irondequoit with our two children.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Grab bag

Some items crossing my desk of late:
  • Maggie Brooks on Tuesday challenged local elected representatives on an issue that is a recurring theme this community. The county executive, who will stand for election this year, called on the Council of Governments "to propose specific ideas for further cooperation and consolidation." She cited collaborative projects in areas such as public health, public safety and transportation as examples. She also urged the council to update this 2001 study on intermunicipal governmental cooperation. Her call is remarkably consistent with her position on consolidation. During her successful 2003 campaign, Brooks argued that consolidation of services -- not consolidation of government units -- was the way to achieve real cost savings in the public sector. With all due respect to the county executive, maybe there's another way: Controlling local government employment. The number of local government jobs in the Rochester metro area grew 7.1 percent between 2000 and 2006; statewide, the increase was 4.4 percent. Perhaps more interesting is that local government employment is now making up a larger part of our economy than it did six years ago - 12.7 percent compared to 11.5.
  • It's perhaps not surprising but a new study showed that sentiment among manufacturing companies in New York dropped dramatically between last month to this. The Federal Reserve Bank index went from 22 percent to 9 percent. Here's a link. Greater Rochester's economy remains heavily weighted in the manufacturing sector. For other Federal Reserve reports, go here.


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