Economy and Business news

The Rochester area saw a gain of 3,400 private sector jobs in February compared to last year.

That's according to new numbers from the State Labor Department, and regional analyst John Slenker says a number of sectors saw growth, particularly jobs in the education and health areas.

He does say that even if some months have not seen large gains, we've been pretty consistent over the last several years.

Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency, recently approved over $17 million  to fund projects across the state including some in the Rochester area.

A grant of up to $4 million was approved for C T Rochester, a real estate company developing the College Town Project along Mount Hope Avenue.  Officials say that project is expected to create 275 jobs for the retail and restaurant parts of the project, and office space will accommodate more than 200 jobs.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  The bidding process is formally underway for those interested in building a Las Vegas-style casino in New York's Southern Tier. 

The state's Gaming Commission approved a new request for applications at a meeting Monday. 

So far only one contender has announced interest in building a casino in the economically struggling region along the state's border with Pennsylvania.

That bidder is Tioga Downs, a harness racing track and electronic gaming facility west of Binghamton. 

ATTICA, N.Y. (AP) — New York's many maple producers are inviting the public to watch how they work.

This weekend is the first of two Maple Weekends, when visitors get the chance to see how syrup is made and sample the sweets.

Sugar houses will be open again next weekend, with more than 150 maple producers participating.

New York is the country's second-largest producer of maple syrup, behind Vermont.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has announced two appointments involving economic development.

One of them is to fill the vacant slot of Commissioner of Neighorhood and Business Development. Del Smith left that post last month for a position at a college down south.

Warren has appointed Baye Muhammad, who is currently the head of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs for the City of Syracuse. Kate Washington, who had been interim commissioner, will continue on as Deputy Commissioner of that department.

The Push for More Funding for Transit Systems

Mar 20, 2015
Alex Crichton

Supporters of public transportation are calling for more funding in the state budget.

Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority CEO Bill Carpenter joined other advocates in pushing for an additional 25-million dollars for upstate operating assistance, and a capital investment for upstate and downstate transit systems of at least 100-million.

He says they closed a 6.2-million dollar budget gap using one-time resources, but they balanced the budget in a way that is unsustainable, so they are asking for these funds from the state.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The New York Farm Bureau says proposals to raise the state minimum wage to $10.50 or higher present difficulties for the state's farmers, straining their income and putting them at a disadvantage with other states.

Several farmers say they're against proposals by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Assembly's Democratic majority to further increase it.

Currently $8.75 an hour, it's scheduled to rise to $9 next year.

Federal data show New York farms pay an average agricultural wage even higher at $12.15.

Fran Weisberg New Leader at United Way

Mar 18, 2015

The United Way of Greater Rochester has appointed Fran Weisberg its new President and CEO.

She succeeds Peter Carpino, who is retiring.

She's the first female to hold the post.

Weisberg says her previous experience as head of Lifespan and The Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency will help her in her new position.

She says she got competitors to collaborate, and says that approach can help solve community problems like like poverty, failing schools and inadequate housing.

There is another major development project that has just been announced for downtown Rochester.

The iconic Chase Tower Building on Main Street has been acquired by Gallina Development, and that company plans to redevelop the 26 story tower into a mixed use building that will include apartments, office space, retail and restaurants.

President of the company, Andrew Gallina, tells WXXI News he's been looking at this building for some time. Recently Chase announced that they plan to cut 350 jobs in their mortgage banking business in that tower building.

Red Light Camera Warning App

Mar 16, 2015

The same company that installed red light cameras in Rochester has developed a smart phone app that'll tell drivers where those cameras are located.

CEO for RedFlex Traffic Systems, Jim Saunders, maintains his business has never been about catching people, it's been about changing behaviors.

He says the idea behind traffic light cameras is that when people make a choice, even if it's inattention, there's a consequence.  And paying the consequence, the ticket, actually changes behavior.