Economy and Business news

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  The state's casino location board has moved forward with new bidding from developers for a license in New York's Southern Tier. 

The Gaming Facility Location Board has accepted bid documents drafted by staff, though members note that a winning bid will have to be better than two previously rejected proposals in the region. 

It has also accepted the 800-page report with detailed findings on all 16 applicants in earlier bidding. That resulted in recommendations for new casinos in the Catskills, Schenectady and the Finger Lakes.

Local restaurant owners are responding to the news that servers will soon be earning $7.50 an hour before tips.

Governor Cuomo's labor commissioner will make that change at the end of this year upon a recommendation from a state Wage Board.

Peter Jines, owner of Jines Restaurant on Park Avenue, says this increase will add a nearly six-figure cost to his business on an annual basis.

Vintners Keeping an Anxious Eye on the Forecast

Feb 24, 2015

It's nail biting time for area grape growers and vintners as a cold snap continues in the region.

Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, says vintners have a cause for concern when temperatures reach 10-below or lower, and some varieties of grape are vulnerable at 5-below.

He says people are keeping an eye on the whether and examining buds for damage.

But so far, he says, while they're nervous, they're not panicking.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  Restaurant servers, hotel housekeepers and other tipped workers in New York will soon make $7.50 an hour before tips, the labor commissioner announced Tuesday, a change that will translate into a big raise for thousands of workers throughout the state. 

The state allows businesses to pay tipped workers less than the standard $8.75 minimum wage as long as gratuities make up the difference. Currently, servers make a tipped wage of $5 per hour. Other service workers make a $5.65 base wage. Those rates haven't changed in four years. 

New York State is again the second highest producer of apples in the country (behind Washington State), and the third highest producer of grapes (with California, and Washington State #1 and #2)

That according to numbers released by Governor Cuomo on Wednesday, who said the state produced an estimated 1.26 billion pounds of apples and 188,000 tons of grapes last year. That combined for a crop totaling more than $358 million.

New York Federal Reserve

A recent survey shows a mixed picture for manufacturing activity in New York State.

The monthly report from the New York Federal Reserve shows that manufacturing activity in the state expanded at a modest pace in February, held back by weaker orders and hiring. The survey shows that manufacturers in the state are less optimistic about the future of the economy than they were just last month.

Governor Cuomo has announced funding for a new energy competition that will award up to $20 million for innovative energy projects in five upstate cities including Rochester.  Cuomo talked about the plan in his State of the State message.

WASHINGTON (AP) Manufacturing activity in New York state expanded at a modest pace in February, held back by weaker orders and hiring.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that its Empire State manufacturing index slipped to 7.8 this month from 10 in January. Any reading above zero indicates expansion. Orders fell to 1.2, suggesting that demand was nearly unchanged.

A measure of hiring showed that factories in the state still added jobs, but at a slower pace.

Honeymoon With Lower Gas Prices Over

Feb 9, 2015
WXXI photo

Gas prices rose about a penny and a half in the Rochester market the last week, while the national average climbed nearly 13 cents.

Compare that to Danville, Illinois, where the price has risen almost 32 cents the past week.

Patrick DeHaan is senior petroleum analyst for

He says Rochester is a little bit behind the curve when it comes to gas prices, and while Rochester was a bit late to see the drop in prices, we are also slower to see the increase.

An agreement announced this week between Kodak and some of the big Hollywood studios should ensure the future of that business for some time.

That according to a  top Kodak official who spoke with WXXI News.

Star Wars Episode VII- The Force Awakens, is one of several well-known films out this year being shot on Kodak film. That's even with the increasing shift by both movie and television studios to using digital photography.