The Rochester economy has gone through some growing pains, but better days are ahead. That was one of the themes that came out of an annual event held Thursday on The State of Rochester's Economy hosted by the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation and Greater Rochester Enterprise.
The President of GRE, Mark Peterson, was among the panelists addressing the need for more private investment in companies and other ventures in the Rochester area.
He says he understands why sometimes that capital investment has been slow to come here.
“We’re an unknown quantity and honestly a lot of the private investment is centered around the east coast and the west coast; we become a flyover ground and we have to do a lot more to talk with people, when we bring people in to see the deal float, to see our companies, they’re very excited about it, but we need to do more of that.”
Peterson says despite recent disappointments, such as the news this week Verizon is closing down its Henrietta call center, he believes the local economy can continue to create jobs to help those workers and other job seekers find employment.
Gary Keith, who is the regional economist for M & T bank is also optimistic about the Rochester area's long term prospects.
Despite the hit that manufacturing has taken in recent years, Keith says the local economy has been gaining momentum, especially as it continues to develop high tech businesses.
“I think the good bones that Rochester has in terms of the other aspects of its economy, primarily built around how we’re innovative and smart and have the ability to translate into household income gets us to the next place we need to be.”
Keith also notes that Rochester's percentage of millennials, in the 18 to 34 age group, is nearly 14 percent, higher than the national average, and he says that bodes well for future growth if those people decide to stay in the area.
University of Rochester President Joel Seligman is expecting to see significant growth in the Rochester area over the next decade. He does say this region will need to do more to get a handle on the high poverty rates that affect parts of the area as well as improving K-12 education.