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October 11, 2018 - 5:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, batavia, jobs, employment.

The Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties Workforce Development Board will host a Business Forum at the Genesee County Career Center in Batavia on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Time is 1 to 2:30 p.m.

This is an opportunity for job seekers to hear directly from hiring managers of local businesses. Job seekers who attend can hear about local job openings and employer expectations. Many of the job seekers that the career center is currently working with are invited to attend, however it is open to the public and would encourage any job seeker to attend the event.

Join participants for an informal question-and-answer session with hiring managers from several local businesses, including: Chapin Manufacturing; Lifetime Assistance; Premiere Genesee Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation; Remedy Staffing; and United Memorial Medical Center.

Employers' reps may talk about current job openings!

The career center is located at 587 E. Main St., #100, Batavia. Phone is (585) 344-2042. Call to sign up or come to the front desk to reserve your spot.

September 26, 2018 - 10:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news, notify.

For the first time since 2007, the August unemployment rate for Genesee County is below 4 percent, hitting 3.5 percent this August.

The rate hasn't been that low or lower since 2000 when it was 3.4 percent in August.

Genesee County's unemployment rate hasn't been as low as 3.5 percent in any month since May 2001.

The rate in August 2017 was 4.2 percent.

The total labor force for Genesee County in August was 30,400 with 1,100 people out of work and actively looking for work.

In August 2001, there were 31,900 people in Genesee County in the labor force with 1,200 looking for work.

New York State's unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, down from 4.9 percent a year ago. The national unemployment rate is 3.9 percent, down from 4.5 percent a year ago.

Nationally, the economy has added jobs for 95 straight months.

August 30, 2018 - 2:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news, notify.

The primary unemployment rate of 3.7 percent in Genesee County is the lowest July rate locally since 2001.

While July is traditional the among the lowest rates of any given year, at 3.7 percent, it's the lowest rate of any month since October 2006.

The rate dropped six-tenths of a percent since last July.

The primary unemployment rate -- called the U-3 rate by labor economists (there are six such levels of rates) -- counts work-age people who either have jobs or are actively seeking employment. It doesn't include people who are permanently or temporarily out of the workforce either by choice or disability.

The number of residents of Genesee County who are counted in the rate is 30,600, up from 30,500 a year ago. The highest July number over the past 28 years was 34,800 in 2008. There are 1,100 people in the county seeking work, down from 1,300 a year ago and 29,500 people with jobs, up 300 from a year ago.

The number of jobs in Genesee County grew year-over-year from 23,700 to 23,800. The number of non-farm, private-sector jobs grew from 18,600 to 18,800.

The Genesee County Job Development Bureau reports it currently knows of 879 job openings locally, down 15.6 percent from last month when there were 1,042 job openings listed.

The state unemployment rate is 4.2 percent, down from 4.9 percent a year ago. The national rate is 4.1 percent compared to 4.6 percent a year ago.

July 12, 2018 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news, notify.

All signs point to a tight labor market in Genesee County with more than 1,000 known job openings and only 1,100 people considered unemployed.

While local companies struggle to find workers, Genesee County's labor force size may have shrunk. 

Labor force participation has declined from May 2017 (the most recent month of data available), when it was 29,900, to 29,500 in May 2018. It was 30,400 in 2016 and 30,800 in 2015. The highest level since 1990 was 33,800 in 2009.

The decline could reflect Baby Boomers retiring, out-migration of prime-age workers, or a number of prime-age workers still sitting on the sidelines. There are not detailed enough statistics for a small county to say.

Nationally, the labor force participation rate is 62 percent, well below the pre-recession level of 66 percent. At the same time, wages have started to go up but not as fast as inflation.

Genesee County's unemployment rate -- as a measure of prime-age working people who either have a job or are looking for work -- was 3.8 percent in May, lower than a year ago, at 4.4 percent, but the same rate as May 2016.

It is the lowest unemployment rate in the GLOW region.

The lowest rate for May since 2000 was 3.5 percent in 2001 and the highest was 7.5 percent in 2012.

That reflects 1,100 people in the county who don't have adequate work but want work. The highest that number has been since 1990 was 2,700 in 1992.

The number of employed Genesee County residents in May was 28,400, down from 28,600 a year prior. It was 29,200 in May 2016 and 29,400 in May 2015. The highest its been since 1990 was 32,300 in 2006.

The Job Development Bureau has 1,036 job listings. That may not reflect all of the job openings in the county.

The sector with the highest number of listed job openings is agriculture, with 307, followed by manufacturing, 222, healthcare, 193, and retail, 65.

Every major employer in Genesee County has openings to fill, with many at hourly rates from $15 an hour to $25 an hour.

Back in 2014, when we did a story about job listings at the agency, there were only 279 listings. In April 2017, Director Scott Gage said there were 760 jobs listed.

The Job Development Bureau, 587 E. Main St., Batavia, is hosting a mini job fair from 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, July 24.

June 11, 2018 - 9:35am
posted by Lisa Ace in Mobile, Manpower, jobs, Dept of Labor, batavia.
Event Date and Time: 
June 12, 2018 - 9:00am

Mobile Manpower Van Visits Batavia Dept of Labor on June 12 @9am
Batavia Dept of Labor is located at; 587 E Main St., #100, Batavia, NY

MANPOWER ROCHESTER

June 8, 2018 - 6:30pm
posted by Lisa Ace in Sponsored Post, advertisement, Manpower, jobs.


MANPOWER ROCHESTER | CURRENTLY HIRING FOR THE FOLLOWING OPPORTUNITIES **Most of our Manufacturing positions are Temp-Hire** 

  • ​Laundry Sorter / Folder (Entry level Industrial) -- $10.45 (A shift – early) [Batavia]
  • Industrial Cleaner -- $11-$13 (A shift) [Bergen]
  • Grinder (Metal) -- $12.50 hr (12 hour shifts) + All the OT you want
  • Heat Treat Operator -- $16 hr (12 hour shifts) + All the OT you want
  • Inspector -- $16 hr (12 hour shifts) + All the OT you want
  • Maintenance Mechanic (Industrial) -- $20+ (BOE)
  • Machinist (Master) -- $18-$25 (B Shift)
  • Property Maintenance -- $14 hr (must have own vehicle) [Canandaigua/Rushville]
  • Property Maintenance -- $14 hr (must have own vehicle) [Albion/Kent/Batavia]
  • Property Maintenance -- $14 hr (must have own vehicle) [Greece/Rochester]
  • Property Manager (Affordable Housing) -- $14 (must have own vehicle) [Canandaigua/Rushville]
  • Visual Inspector -- $12+ (BOE) (Need experience using microscope)
  • De-burrer (Precision Metal, Using Microscope) -- $12+ (BOE)
  • CNC Machine Operators and Set Up Operators - $12+ (BOE)
  • Machine Operator Apprentice -- $14 hr (2 week rotating shifts C,B,A)
  • Extrusion Operator (Plastic) (BOE) Warehouse / Order Picking -- $12 hour (B or C shift)

We are constantly working with new companies and our open positions always change! We want to work with you!

Register at manpower.com. Email your resume.

Visit the mobile Manpower van on June 12th from 9am-2pm and get hired!

Or contact: Kristin Smith, recruiter at  [email protected]anpower.com or call (585) 227-6008. Manpower - Erie Canal Commons - 2534 Ridgeway Ave., Rochester, NY 14626

January 23, 2018 - 2:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, news.

Genesee County's unemployment rate grew to 5.3 percent from 4.9 percent in December of last year.

The increase fits the trends for Western New York. Rochester's rate went from 4.7 percent to 5.0 percent. Buffalo rose from 5.1 percent to 5.5 percent.

The rate for the GLOW region went from 5.4 percent to 5.5 percent.

There are 600 more people in Genesee County's labor force than a year ago.

The state's rate decreased from 4.7 percent to 4.6 percent.

The nation's unemployment rate is 4.1 percent.

December 27, 2017 - 3:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news, notify.

More people in Genesee County now have jobs or want jobs than the same period a year ago, and this has actually meant the county's unemployment rate grew from November 2016 to November 2017, according to the latest statistics from the Department of Labor.

The November labor force is an estimated 29,600, up from 29,000 a year ago and while the number of people with jobs grew, the number did not grow as much as total labor force participation.

Labor force participation is the measure of how many people either have jobs or who report they are under-employed and looking for full-time work or are unemployed and looking for work.

The county's labor force participation rate has been at or below the previous year's number for more than a year.

While the pool of eligible workers grew, so did the total number of employed people. In all, 400 more people in the county are reported to have a job in November than the previous year. The total grew from 27,700 to 28,100.

Even with that growth, the bigger jump in total participation meant that county's unemployment rate grew from 4.5 percent to 5.1 percent year-over-year.

The GLOW-area unemployment rate rose at the same pace, hitting 5.3 percent, up from 4.7 percent a year ago. Buffalo's rate rose from 4.9 percent to 5.3 percent and Rochester, from 4.5 percent to 5.1 percent.

The state's rate was 4.5 percent.

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor reported 22,600 non-farm jobs in Genesee County, down from 22,500 a year earlier. There were 16,700 private sector jobs in Genesee County for November 2017, the same as 2016.

October 27, 2017 - 2:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, business, news.

Both the total number of Genesee County residents with jobs and the total number looking for jobs declined in September compared to the year before, according to data released by the State Department of Labor.

There were 28,800 residents with jobs, according to the release, and 1,200 people designated as unemployed.

The total size of the labor force is 30,000 compared to 30,200 a year ago.

That makes the unemployment rate 4.1 percent, compared to 4.2 a year ago.

According to Scott Gage, director of the county's job bureau, there are more than 580 job openings being advertised in the county.

The 4.1 rate is the lowest for any month since May 2016 when it was 3.8 percent.

The GLOW area rate is 4.5 percent compared to 4.5 percent a year ago.

Rochester has dropped from 4.8 to 4.7 and Buffalo 4.9 from 5.1.

The state's rate is 4.7.

Nationally, the rate has fallen from 4.8 percent to 4.1 percent.

October 19, 2017 - 4:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news, business.

Genesee County has lost 100 jobs over the past 12 months, according to data released today by the Department of Labor.

For September 2017, there were 23,600 jobs in the county. The previous September, there were 23,500.

The total number of private sector jobs held steady at 17,800 year-over-year, which is also the same total as September 2015. The lowest number of private sector jobs locally over the past two decades was 16,800 in 2012. There haven't been as many as 18,000 private sector jobs in September since 2004 (18,100).

Labor is reporting 89,100 new jobs in the state since last year, but Western New York's two metropolitan areas reported job losses year-over-year. The Buffalo region has dropped from 564,900 to 561,400 and Rochester has dropped from 532,300 to 529,000.

There are 5,700 government jobs in the county, compared to 5,800 a year ago.

August 22, 2017 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news, business.

Genesee County's unemployment rate ticked up a percentage point, even though the number of people reported as unemployed in the county remained steady at 1,300.

The rate rose year-over-year from 4.1 percent for July to 4.2.

There are 29,000 people in the county with jobs.

The total labor force -- the number of people working or looking for work -- is 30,300, down from 30,600.

Nationally, the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent. That's what's known as the U-3 number. The number that accounts for people who have stopped looking for jobs out of discouragement and part-time workers who would like full-time employment for the nation is 10.4 percent. That rate has been falling steadily since 2009 from a high of nearly 18 percent. (source, The Wall Street Journal)

That kind of detail is not available for job markets as small as Genesee County.

Wage growth nationally remains stagnant. 

The state's unemployment rate is 4.9 percent.

The GLOW unemployment rate is 4.9 percent, a tick higher than a year ago. The region's labor force has dropped from 98,300 to 96,900.

August 17, 2017 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news.

Genesee County added 100 more jobs in July, in a year-over-year comparison, according to data released today by the NYS Department of Labor.

In July 2017, there were 23,700 jobs in the county, compared with 23,600 a year ago.

Over the past decade, the highest job count for July was in 2014, with 23,800 jobs. 

The state added 18,800 jobs in July, according to the report.

July 25, 2017 - 4:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news.

While Genesee County's unemployment rate remains lower than state and national averages, it still was slightly higher in this past June than it was 12 months before.

The June rate was 4.2 percent, up from 3.9 percent a year ago.

The rate for the state and nation is 4.5 percent, which in both cases is an improvement over a year ago when the rates were 4.7 and 5.1.

Genesee County also didn't add any new jobs year over year, with 24,000 jobs reported in the county for June 2016 and June 2017.

The Rochester-area unemployment rate is 4.8 and in the Buffalo area it is 5.1.

There are 29,000 people with jobs in Genesee County. A year ago, there was 29,500. There are 1,300 people without jobs who are considered part of the labor force. Last year, that number was 1,200.

July 18, 2017 - 2:00pm

O-AT-KA Milk Products -- don’t let the name fool you. When you walk through our 600,000-square-foot facility you won’t see a single jug of milk.

While we do make traditional dairy products such as evaporated milk, butter and powder, we’re also a huge player in the beverage industry. Our locally made products are shipped globally for the world’s largest beverage brands. We make great tasting dairy based beverages such as ready-to-drink coffee and protein drinks. And we do it all, right here in Batavia – research and development, procurement, manufacturing, packaging, distribution and more. 

Why should you want to work for us? Our roots run deep; we’ve been in business since 1959 and since then our growth has been unmatched in the area. As a premier employer in Western New York, we offer a safe work environment with exceptional benefits. Our culture is one of passion and continuous improvement; allowing us to provide talented, motivated employees opportunities to advance in a rewarding career. 

If you’re ready to become a valued member of a winning team, fill out your application today at www.oatkamilk.com/careers.

May 25, 2017 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, unemployment, business, news.

At least 400 people entered the labor force in Genesee County from March to April, according to the latest data released by the New York State Department of Labor.

That puts the total size of the labor force at 29,400, with 1,300 people classified as unemployment, which puts the unemployment rate at 4.6 percent.

A year ago in April, the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in the county.

Over the past year, the county's labor force has declined by approximately 500 people. It's difficult to pinpoint the reason for the decline, but Baby Boomers reaching retirement age could be a factor.

The total number of employed residents 28,100. A year ago in April, it was 28,600 and in March it was 27,500.

The unemployment rate in the GLOW region is 5.0, the same as a year ago. 

In Rochester, it's 4.6 percent. In Buffalo, it's 5.0. For the state, it's 4.2. For the nation, it's 4.1 percent.

May 3, 2017 - 6:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BOCES, careers, jobs, batavia, schools, education, news, business.

fordfuturetechboces2017.jpg

Automotive techs are in demand and the demand is growing, according to Peter DeLacy, owner of DeLacy Ford in East Aurora, which is why the WNY Ford Dealers started a program three years ago to donate cars with "real world" experience to local high schools.

The goal is to help and encourage high school students with an interest in auto repair to stick with it as a career choice and gain valuable experience working on cars with some of the last technological advancements.

"They're often working on 15-year-old cars and there isn't much interest in working on cars that don't have the latest technology," DeLacy said.

Yesterday, the dealers donated at 2014 Ford Fusion to the automotive shop at BOCES.

"We rely on donations like this in order for our kids to get the best training possible so that when they leave school, they can go right out to the workforce and do the best they can," said BOCES in Batavia Principal Jon Sanfratello (speaking at the podium in the photo above).

The dealers pool their resources to acquire cars from Ford Credit that have come out of the lease program. Delacy said auto teachers want cars with some mileage on them and in need of some maintenance, not brand-new cars, for their students to work on. Once the dealers have ensured all auto shop programs in the region have cars, they will start a three- or four-year rotation process of providing newer slightly used vehicles to the schools so students always have close to the latest technology at their fingertips.

There isn't much about a Ford or a GM or a Toyota that is so proprietary that a student can't learn a broad range of applicable skills, regardless of which car it is, Delacy said. Many car components, and the technology today that enables and manages them, are built to government-mandated specifications, so when a tech hooks up a diagnostic computer to a car, the readout is the same regardless of the make or model.

"The diagnostic codes, how you access the primary powertrain control module, how you do all of these things is pretty much the same for all manufacturers," Delacy said.

The goal for the Ford dealers, of course, is to ensure as many young techs come out of high school and two years of college with an interest in working at Ford dealerships, but as long as there are more techs in the market, it's better for everybody.

"The technicians we have now, they’ve put their time in and they want to retire," Delacy said. "There’s not a big pool of talent to choose from, so knowing that the Ford dealers of Western New York, including myself, decided to ask, ‘where do we get technicians? How do we get them interested?’ Because a lot of people don’t want to get into that. They want to be other things and this is a very good pay program when you get into the dealership level."

It's a good career choice, Delacy said, because it's stable, it pays well and dealership jobs are good jobs, and since the only college required is couple of years at a community college, so the career makes sense financially.

"The great part is it's not a huge investment," Delacy said. "They don't have student loans to pay for five or 10 years. They’re out in the real world, earning real money, keeping their money and investing it, so we’re on the ground floor of great opportunity, allowing students to get a good education and they’re ready to go when they get out of college and they don’t have a huge debt load, so it’s a win-win-win for everybody."

April 26, 2017 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in labor, jobs, business, news.

The number of people in Genesee County who are part of the labor force dropped by 800, from 29,800 in March 2016 to 29,000 this March.

That's not necessarily a bad thing.

It could be a sign of a tightening labor market.

In fact, the county's unemployment rate year-over-year fell from 5.4 percent to 5.1 percent even as the total number of county residents fell from 28,200 to 27,500.

At the county level, not all employment statistics are available, but on a national level, the number of prime-age workers in the labor force has been steadily increasing since 2011, when the percentage of 25-54-year-olds in the national labor market was 75.1 percent. This march, the number it 78.5 percent, which still isn't as high as the pre-recession level of 80.2, but a marked improvement.

Tammy Morino, an economist with the Department of Labor in Rochester, said the two trends -- growing number of prime-age workers in the labor market and declining labor force participation could mean we are at or near full employment.

The 800 labor force drop in Genesee County could be explained mostly by more Baby Boomers aging out of the workforce, and whereas those retiring workers were replaced in recent years by prime-age workers re-entering the workforce, there just aren't as many workers sitting on the sidelines these days.

"It's not a phenomenon unique to the county," Morino said. "We're seeing it across the nation, the aging out of the labor force."

More than 30 percent of Genesee County's workers commute to either Rochester or Buffalo, and Morino said Monroe County has added 30,000 new jobs since the end of the recession.

The number of non-farm jobs in Genesee County held steady year-over-year at 21,900, still below the pre-recession peak of 22,900.

The idea of a tight labor market in Genesee County also fits with what Scott Gage, director of the Job Development Bureau, is seeing at his agency. The year started off with about 400 people locally re-entering the labor force, he noted, and in March, 100 people who had been drawing unemployment found work, he said.

"We’ve got a lot of jobs," he said. "We just ran the list yesterday, there are 760 jobs just in Genesee County. Some of those are seasonal jobs, but that's a lot of jobs."

According to state data, there are 1,500 people in Genesee County who are part of the labor force but do not have jobs.

To an economist, the concept of "full employment" doesn't mean at any given moment every single working-age person has a job -- because there is always some flux involved in changing jobs, changing job circumstances, changing seasonal jobs or other factors, such as workers holding out for better jobs or better pay, that put people temporarily out of work -- but that enough jobs are available to employ all those who want jobs.

"The biggest problem we're having is finding people who are willing work," Gage said. "Most of the people who were able to come back into the labor force are finding job opportunities and now there are more opportunities than available workers."

Wage data for the county is available only on a quarterly basis and the third quarter of 2016 is the most recent available data. Total quarterly wages in:

  • Q3, 2016, $227,365,299
  • Q3, 2015: $217,005,273
  • Q3, 2014: $213,124,736
  • Q3, 2013: $203,875,721
  • Q3, 2012: $193,643,054
  • Q3, 2011: $203,179,005
  • Q3, 2010: $192,917,830
  • Q3, 2008: $182,668,038
  • Q3, 2007: $191,733,289
March 31, 2017 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in economy, jobs, trade policy, news.

Local Economic Development

This is part eight of an eight-part series on trade and how changes in policy might affect the local economy.

renderingwnystamp.jpg

There's been a lot of talk about trade from President Donald J. Trump, but so far, no real action -- no new trade deals, no concrete action on tariffs or border adjustments. But just the idea that there might be some future advantage to manufacturing in the United States is already having an impact locally, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

"At least in the short term, this push, this effort to try and balance the trade profiles and make sure the U.S. is on an equal footing with the rest of the world, honestly, we're seeing an uptick in interest in manufacturers looking for U.S. sites, including direct foreign investment," Hyde said.

It's almost like all the work of GCEDC since Hyde became the CEO 14 years ago aligns with this potential new direction for the country. During those 14 years, GCEDC has been aggressive about creating build-ready industrial parks, from Gateway II, Apple Tree Acres, Buffalo East Tech Park, the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and WNY STAMP.

"I think there is still a wave of optimism going on about whatever relative changes may be coming," Hyde said. "The president is very focused on trying to beef up manufacturing in America and that's certainly helped our focus here on Genesee County to bring back manufacturing in both food and ag and in advanced manufacturing." 

The president's potential policies just enhance GCEDC's efforts, Hyde said.

"There's a bit of a bubble and ramp up of interest in manufacturing products of late and siting new facilities and trying to bring back growth and manufacturing to the state."

Hyde said he's recently had specific inquiries from foreign investors in sites at Gateway II and STAMP, with a lot of activity around STAMP.

The plan is still to break ground on STAMP this spring, though there seems to be an air of uncertainty about the company expected to be STAMP's first tenant -- 1366 Technologies.

While 1366 has raised tens of millions of dollars in venture capital backing, has already signed contracts with foreign firms to buy its solar wafers, there is still a potential issue with the company receiving funding assistance from the Department of Energy.

The Trump Administration has taken steps that alarm some environmentalists concerned with climate science, but that has been mostly directed at the Environmental Protection Agency. Rick Perry, Trump's selection to head the Department of Energy, testified during his Senate confirmation hearing that he's had a change of heart on climate science and has come to accept climate change as a real concern.

"I believe the climate is changing. I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by man-made activity," Perry said. "The question is, how do we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn't compromise economic growth, the affordability of energy, or American jobs."

On the manufacturing front, as 1366 officials point out, if the Trump Administration goal is to increase U.S. manufacturing and U.S. exports, 1366 will be exactly that kind of company. At least initially, 1366 expects to export all of its solar wafers.

We asked Laureen Sanderson, a spokesperson for 1366, about the status of the project in light of the new administration and when we can expect 1366 to break ground on its local factory. Here's her response:

Yes, we’re factoring in the change in administration into our business plans. We expect the new administration will support U.S. manufacturing jobs and we’re looking forward to working with the team to do just that. At this time, I don’t have any additional details or timing to share but I will be sure to let you know as soon as we do.

Your trade questions are all excellent but we don’t want to speculate. We obviously support policies that support the global industry and its growth. We do not need clarity to move forward. One of the great things about the Direct Wafer technology is just how competitive it is, the cost reductions we allow for are unmatched and that positions us really well.  

One of the possible trade policy changes is the Border Adjustment Tax. That would put a 20-percent tax on imports but make revenue derived from exports completely tax free.

"That would be a huge benefit for 1366," Hyde said.

One of the criticisms economists have leveled at a potentially more protectionistic regime from the Trump Administration is that the United States simply doesn't have the supply chain any longer to support increased domestic manufacturing.

Trump's trade policy advisor, Peter Navarro, doesn't think that will be a problem.

“We need to manufacture those components in a robust domestic supply chain that will spur job and wage growth," Navarro said.

Hyde said with Genesee County sitting half way between Rochester and Buffalo -- the second and third largest population centers in the state and the second and largest export areas in New York -- along with all of the build-ready sites, the county is well positioned for any repatriating of a manufacturing supply chain.

"A lot of manufacturers want supply chain partners within an hour of their manufacturing site," Hyde said. "Some of the things going on at the Federal level has us well positioned to attract some of that supply chain, depending on how things unfold."

Like a good entrepreneur, Hyde is always optimistic. He never lets go of the big vision he has for creating jobs in Genesee County and he's excited by the activity he is seeing around not just STAMP but Gateway II and the other sites GCEDC has ready for new factories.

"About 5.6 percent of New York's private sector jobs come from employment at foreign-owned companies," Hyde said. "Foreign direct investment is a prominent part of New York's economy. With a focused policy at the federal level, advanced manufacturing is something we could see go up and that means good-paying jobs. Advanced manufacturing is the best way to build wealth in a community."

GRAPHIC: A rendering of what WNY STAMP might look like some day.

March 30, 2017 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, trade policy, economics, news.

nyheadlinesmoothhawley.jpg

Trade Wars

This is part seven of an eight-part series on trade and how changes in policy might affect the local economy.

If the Trump Administration upsets the trade relationship with Mexico, our southern neighbors are already threatening retaliation with tariffs of their own on corn, and turning to South America for one of the country's food staples in what is already dubbed a "tortilla war."

Craig Yunker, CEO of CY Farms, said such a move, especially at a time of a strong U.S. dollar, would certainly hurt local farmers. 

"The GLOW region's economy is highly dependent on agriculture," Yunker said. "Agriculture is highly dependent on exports. A trade war coming out of anti-trade comments and tweets will put our regional economy at risk."

Rep. Chris Collins said he isn't worried about a trade war. If there is one, he said, it would be short-lived because other countries need us more than we need them.

"No one wants to use the word war in any sentence," Collins said. "What I would remind people is that if there is a war, we'll win the war."

The calculation Collins looks at, he said, is "four and 25," meaning the United State has 4 percent of the world's population and accounts for 25 percent of the world's economy (Collins and I had some discussion about this number. I told him it was 15.8 percent, but that turns out to be a number adjusted for something called purchasing power parity, which adjusts for exchange rates; the current nominal rate is just over 25 percent.

While on the campaign trail, Trump spoke frequently about the $346 billion trade deficit with China; there are some factors that raw number leaves out. 

First, much of the $115 billion the U.S. exports to China goes over as raw goods and comes back as more expensive, manufactured goods.  

Second, the U.S. GDP per person is $51,638. That is higher than any other major nation and much higher than China, at $6,497, (and much higher than our other major global rival, Russia, at $11,615. That means U.S. consumers have more money to spend on products, meaning more demand for products. Of course, it also means the cost of labor in China is much lower than in the United States.

While the GDP per person is low in China, it has grown substantially over the past two decades. The number of people living below the poverty line in China has fallen from 750 million in 1990 to less than two million today. Free trade has been good for China, which is probably why the communist president Xi Jinping has become a champion of open markets.

“Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room,” Jinping said. “Wind and rain may be kept outside, but so is light and air.”

These are among the reasons, Collins argues, that China needs the United States, which makes a trade war unlikely.

"What happens if China loses access to U.S. consumers?" Collins said. "It's going to be anarchy over there. On the agricultural front, I would hate to see that happen, but that also begs the question of supply and demand. We're a big supplier. What's going to happen to the price of corn if all that corn comes out of the market? They're going to start raising prices."

What's known of Trump's trade plans is that he plans to focus heavily on deficits with each trading partner even though trade deals usually lower barriers with trade partners more than they lower our own already low duties. There's also some concern that Trump might want to pull the nation out of the WTO, a move many economists believe will only weaken the United States as the rest of the world moves on with free trade without us.

While Jim Campbell, CEO of Chapin, supports new trade deals that help U.S. manufacturing, he doesn't think the United States should turn to a more protectionist stance.

"The one thing we can all agree on is protectionism doesn't work," Campbell said. 

It didn't work for America, or the world, during the Great Depression, when Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act, a contributing factor to making a bad recession worse.

"We still need some free trade," Campbell said. "We need fair trade."

Fair trade: Most business leaders we spoke to for this series, even most of the strong free-trade advocates, have some complaint about how seemingly unfair trade practices of other countries hurt their businesses. Dean Norton, former president of the NY State Farm Bureau, acknowledged the provincial dairy protections of Canada. Local farmer Maureen Torrey noted there are some crops her farm ships to Canada only rarely. 

John DeLuca, sales manager for Liberty Pumps, said he just returned from Indonesia, which charges a duty on U.S.-manufactured pumps entering their country, but there is no duty on pumps entering the United States.

Jeff Glajch, VP of finance at Graham Manufacturing, thinks addressing these kinds of issues will bolster U.S. manufacturing, and even bring more manufacturing back to Batavia, so anything the Trump Administration can do to "level the playing field" would be good for America.

"If there’s a trade policy that favors U.S. manufacturing that is a positive to us," Glajch said.

What we don't know yet from the Trump Administration is what fair trade looks like and how we move from where we are now to where President Donald Trump thinks we should be.

GRAPHIC: Reproduction of the front page of The New York Times from 1930 carrying the warning of economists that the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs would start trade wars.

Previously:

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