Economy and Business news

The latest index on small business job growth put out by Paychex and a company called IHS shows a spike in growth for the month of January.  In fact, officials say the growth offsets the declines in job growth they saw during 2015.

Paychex CEO Marty Mucci says once again, service-related jobs seemed to show some of the strongest growth.

Although there is a lot of concern among local employees and public officials about what the future may hold for area Xerox operations once the company is split in two, one expert says there sometimes can be a silver lining to the transformation of these large manufacturing companies.

Kent Gardner is chief economist at the Center for Governmental Research, or CGR, and spoke about the issue on Connections with Evan Dawson on WXXI on Friday.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  The organization representing New York's 35,000 farms says defeating Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed $15 minimum wage is its top political priority of the year. 

New York Farm Bureau Dean Norton said this week that a $15 minimum would put the state's agriculture industry at a competitive disadvantage with states like Pennsylvania, where the minimum is now $7.25 an hour. 

The Farm Bureau estimates that Cuomo's plan would cost farmers $500 million in added labor costs each year. 

The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge has issued its report on how Rochester is addressing the poverty crisis.

Rochester was chosen as one of 16 cities to participate in the Challenge, and a team from IBM has 13 recommendations and a roadmap to support the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative's goal of cutting poverty in half over the next 15 years.

The Initiative's Director, Leonard Brock, says the recommendations from the IBM team mirror many of the suggestions the Initiative outlined last fall.

He says 2016 is the year of implementation.

Representatives from the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, Rochester Home Builders Association and Mortgage Bankers Association presented their year-end report today.

Their assessment: 2015 was a strong year, and indications are 2016 will be positive, too.

GRAR President Toni Connors says home sales increased in the region for the 5th year in a row.

But there is a shortage of listings in the area, as the number of properties for sale declined by 6.8 percent.

She says now is a very important time to be selling a home.

The Hyatt Hotel in downtown Rochester is being sold.

That iconic part of the landscape in the center city is being sold by the private equity firm, the Blackstone Group, to a partnership that consists of Morgan Management and Christa Development.

The purchase price is $16 million, and the new owners plan to do $15 million worth of renovations there.

Developer Bob Morgan says even with new hotels cropping up in the area in recent months, his company and Christa Development feel this is a good investment.

Tops Farmington Renovations Completed

Jan 27, 2016

Tops Friendly Markets unveiled its Farmington Store today, after the completion of $1.2 million dollars in renovations.

CEO Frank Curci says the whole store has a new look and feel to it.

"In our produce department, we have twice the variety that the store had in the past, we've added natural and organic. In the meat department we've added a different variety, all USDA choice beefs.  So all throughout the store it's been upgraded."

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The Rochester area unemployment rate continues to decline. New numbers out from the state labor department peg the December rate at 4.6 percent, down from 5.3 percent a year ago.

The statewide unemployment rate in December was 4.8 percent.

State Labor Analyst Tammy Marino says overall, 2015 was a good year in terms of job growth.

"The pace of hiring throughout the year was especially strong, and this in turn helped to push Rochester's unemployment rate to its lowest December level in more than a decade."

Gas Prices Close to $2 Dollar Mark in Rochester

Jan 25, 2016
Alex Crichton

The price of gasoline continues to fall.

The average for a gallon of regular unleaded in the Rochester area is $ 2 dollars 5 cents, according to AAA spokesperson Elizabeth Carey.

"We've seen them go down about a nickel in the past week. So prices do continue to drop, and we do expect them to continue to drop because crude oil prices are way down, they've just been tumbling."

Many stations are selling gas below the $2 dollar mark.

Carey notes one station on Dewey Avenue has gas for $1.88.

That's near the national average of $1.83.

The latest numbers from the State Labor Department on job growth saw more increases for December, which officials say capped off a solid year overall.

The Rochester Metro saw an increase of 5,600 private sector jobs in December compared to December a year ago, and state labor analyst Tammy Marino says that added onto robust growth that was going on throughout 2015.