First the good news — unemployment fell and private-sector jobs grew to an all-time high in New York last month. The state hit 7.4 million private-sector jobs in March with a 14,100-job gain over February, according to state Labor Department data released yesterday.
But the news was not as good Upstate. The unemployment rate outside New York City fell from 7.9% to 7.7%. But the Binghamton, Elmira and Utica areas are the only ones to have seen a decrease in jobs between March 2012 and March 2013.
We do not think that it is a coincidence that these are the same parts of the state that stand to gain the most in terms of direct and indirect job creation if New York allows natural gas development using hydraulic fracturing to go forward.
This Wall Street Journal article “Challenges Facing Binghamton” gives a pretty good assessment of what these parts of Upstate are dealing with. Population losses in the wake of an economic decline. Trying to figure out how to bring people back to our downtown areas, and to use our colleges and university as engines of innovation and job creation.
Such are the challenges facing not just Binghamton, but really every Upstate community. We will meet these challenges. It would just be nice to get a helping hand from the state, and the people we elect, every once in a while.