Economy and Business news

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York City's subway system handles about 5.7 million riders every weekday, more than 10 times the combined daily ridership of all other public transportation systems in the rest of New York state.

Even though their ridership is nowhere near the Big Apple's, upstate New York's largest public transit face many of the same challenges their big-city counterparts at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority deal with on a regular basis, including aging infrastructure and increased demand for service.

Home sales were strong in 2017, despite an ongoing low inventory.

Housing market statistics for the year were released today during an economic breakfast event at Locust Hill Country Club.

Overall, the number of homes sold in 2017 was down by less than 3 percent, despite a 12 percent decrease in the number of homes for sale.

CEO for the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, Jim Yockel says the story for 2017 is a strong market with many buyers, but the number of homes for sale continues to drop.

Alex Crichton

A company that was created in the split of Xerox into two businesses is employing hundreds of people at the former Medley Center in Irondequoit, and they plan to tack on to that total.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Thursday at the new customer experience center for Conduent,  a business process services company that helps clients in the healthcare, commercial, transportation and public sector.

Conduent's Chief People Officer, as he's known, is Jeff Friedel.

Ten finalists, and 3 runners-up  in a competition that involves high-tech start-ups have now arrived in Rochester. They are all part of a state sponsored contest called Luminate NY  which is designed to help startup companies in the optics, photonics and imaging industries in Rochester.

Vincent Esposito is regional director for Empire State Development. He says the idea is to help these companies ramp up their operations and eventually contribute to the local economy.

The latest unemployment numbers show a rise in joblessness for the Rochester area in December. The unemployment rate stood at 5.0 percent, up from 4.7 percent in December of 2016.  The rate for November 2017 was 5.1 percent.

But NYS Labor analyst Tammy Marino says that 5.0 percent rate is still pretty close to the historical average for the month.

She does say that overall, it has appeared in recent months that the local job market is softening a bit.

The leaders who put together Rochester’s proposal to Amazon say they will not release it to the public. That means taxpayers won’t find out how much public money was offered to the Seattle-based company.

“We do not have plans at this point to make our proposal public,” said Matt Hurlbutt, CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, which coordinated the proposal to Amazon on a local level.

The unemployment rate in New York State edged slightly downward in December 2017. New York had a 4.6 percent unemployment rate, down a tenth of a percent from the previous month.

The New York State Department of Labor says that the private sector job count in the state rose by 111,700 or 1.4 percent.

Alex Crichton / WXXI News

Two local business organizations are partnering to bring attention to a booklet that helps promote the Rochester and Finger Lakes area.

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce originally put the publication out last year, and now they are joining with the tourism group Visit Rochester to promote it.

The book is called “We #ROC “ - 100 reasons to love the Rochester Finger Lakes region, which includes everything from top employers and business amenities to Rochester sports teams and traditions.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State message includes a proposal to set aside money to promote the photonics effort in the Rochester area.

Cuomo wants to allocate $30 million toward marketing and providing incentives for photonics companies thinking of locating in the Rochester area.

The state has already committed $250 million toward the AIM Photonics initiative, and the $30 million would be part of that.


The latest monthly unemployment numbers from New York State show that the Rochester area unemployment figures jumped a bit compared to a year ago.

The unemployment rate for the Rochester Metro was 5.1 percent in November, up from 4.5 percent a year ago.

State Labor Analyst Tammy Marino says that rate is about in line with what we usually see this time of year.