By Wagner Dotto
This is our Progress Edition and I hope readers will enjoy reading it.
The idea is to provide an accurate picture of what’s going on in the region — the good, the bad and the ugly.
To that end, we have a little of everything, including a great (and sad) story about population loss in New York state. We lost 76,790 residents between 2018 and 2019 — that’s like losing more people than the entire population of Utica within a year (Utica’s population is 60,500). The Empire State is No. 1 in population loss in the country and has lost residents for four straight years (Gov. Cuomo blames the weather).
We have a Q&A with the president of CenterState, CEO Rob Simpson, who talks about the need to tackle poverty in the region (30.5% of the Syracuse population lives in poverty).
We also have an interview with M&T Bank economist Gary Keith who has a tremendous knowledge of Upstate New York’s economy. His view is that, yes, Upstate is growing, but not as fast as other regions. One of his concerns: population loss. “My biggest fear is what if we created a job, and there was no one there to fill it?”
Then we have some positive stories that are taking place here — there are many of them. Substantial projects in Fulton and Oswego are fueling enthusiasm and economic activity in the two Oswego County cities.
The “brain drain” has finally slowed — more college graduates and millennials are choosing to stay in the area than before.
Many business owners interviewed for this issue also said they feel pretty optimistic about the economy and about their businesses.
In the meantime, a report from The Brookings Institute lists Syracuse as one of the country’s potential growth areas for the future of America’s high-tech innovation sector. In other words, Syracuse has what it takes to support new start-ups.
I love the story about Syracuse-based Dropcopter. The owners develop drones to pollinate fruit and nut trees. Founded in 2014 the owners decided to move the company in 2016 — from San Francisco to Syracuse.
Last year they got a big boost from the region — a $500,000 prize — which was awarded by Grow-NY competition. They are ready to further grow their business.