In a Wall Street Journal interview last week, President Trump made comments about Upstate New York that have led to a debate about the state of the job market and the economy in our region. He said that Upstate New York “just isn’t working,” and its residents should move elsewhere to find jobs. He also suggested people just leave their homes behind, even if they can’t sell them. His comments were related to news surrounding the electronics manufacturer Foxconn, which was considering building a new plant in Wisconsin instead of Utica (days later, Foxconn did select Wisconsin as its preferred site).

Is the state of the economy in Upstate New York as bleak as the President suggests? Have you considered moving out of the area to find work? Our guests help us understand the jobs outlook and economic development in our region:

  • Matt Hurlbutt, interim president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise
  • Matt Horn, Geneva City Manager
  • Mike Manikowski, chief economic developer for Ontario County

Veronica Volk / WXXI News/Great Lakes Today

Spring flooding along Lake Ontario is damaging many homes along the shoreline, and it’s hurting people who have businesses there. Now, business owners say it will take a long time to recover -- even after the floodwaters go away.

Marge’s is a little bungalow bar in Rochester. Inside, there's a small wooden bar and a few games, but you don't go to Marge’s to stay inside.

Out back is a big stretch of beach looking out over Lake Ontario. There's a tiki hut, and frozen drink machine, and live music on the weekends.

If they’re successful they can create jobs, serve as an answer to unmet needs in the market and bring about social change. In cities, they’re also a key factor for growth both in population and income. So what’s happening now in the City of Rochester to make the landscape appealing for urban entrepreneurs and is it working? In this Need to Know segment we’ll hear from Ebony Miller Wesley, Interim Director of RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, President of Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (The Commissary).

The Eastman Business Park is welcoming a new tenant, a company involved in photonics. It's actually the first independent photonics company to locate at the business park.

There is a research hub being developed at the park, called a Testing, Assembly and Packaging or ‘TAP’ facility which will serve a number of photonics firms in the area.


The latest numbers from the New York State Labor Department show a decline in private sector jobs and a rise in unemployment for the Rochester area.

The February unemployment rate was 5.4 percent, up from 5.1 a year ago, and there was a decline of 1,200 private sector jobs compared to a year ago. 

But State Labor Analyst Mark Barbano says it’s hard to compare the numbers because last year was a particularly strong year for job growth in the Rochester metropolitan area.

Xerox on Wednesday is launching what it says is the biggest product introduction in its history, 29 new products. The company says they will include new software and apps, many of which were developed by engineers in the Rochester area.

Also, reviewing a recent study by the Brookings Institution on economic growth. The Metro Monitor report tracks the economic performance of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, and the Rochester area didn’t fare too well.

Elon Musk recently said that it might be time for a UBI, a Universal Basic Income. He said that mechanization has made it difficult to replace lost jobs, and there might be no other recourse to help Americans who are displaced. So, what is a UBI? How would it work? How's the track record? Our guests explain and debate it:

 Erika Rosenberg, Center for Governmental ResearchPeter Nabozny, Center for Governmental ResearchAmit Batabyal, professor of economics at RIT

Malinda Ruit/RIT

It's no surprise: Taxpayers living in New York state are subject to some of the highest rates in the country.

No one pays more state and local income taxes out of a paycheck than New Yorkers do, according to recent data from the Tax Foundation. The state also ranks fourth overall in property tax collections.

With that, one might be quick to think that complaining about the state's tax burden is a given. But not always.

401(K) 2013/Flickr

Venessa Rodriguez of Endicott is happy with her health insurance. But one thing she's not thrilled about is that it's not always clear what she owes when she goes to the doctor.

"I think what's happened a few times (is) my doctor's office will send a lab away," she said. "And then (I come to) find out that the lab was not covered under my insurance."

The same goes for Barbara Johnston from Rochester.


Voters head to the polls next week with every seat in the New York State Legislature up for grabs. But will Albany's costly effort to create jobs make a difference in the election?