The Greater Binghamton Chamber’s annual economic forecast included both a sobering assessment of the region’s economy as well as a celebration of somber local successes.
Gary Keith is a Regional Economist with M&T Bank.
Keith says non-manufacturing growth in the Binghamton area was a -1.5 percent since 2007, the only negative growth metro area in Upstate New York.
Our region has also lost almost 16,000 jobs over the past decade.
Keith says the region needs to leave its manufacturing identity behind and have a more positive and innovative approach.
“You need almost a change in psychology as much as anything. You have to be able to say, ‘We can take a risk. This may work, this may not work. But, not doing something, not taking that risk, is worse than the failure,” said Keith.
A survey conducted by the Chamber found that most local business leaders are optimistic for the future of the economy, and a majority expected their revenues to go up this year.
“To me, just seeing growth upwards means we’re doing something right. So, here is today to kind of take our temperature, see where we’re going and then see what we need to do. And all the right people were in the room today,” said Chamber CEO Jennifer Conway.
The Chamber announced the winners of its inaugural Building BC Awards.
The Restorative Award went to the First Ward Action Council for its Front Street Gateway Project.
The Transformative Award went to Mercy House of the Southern Tier.
The Innovative Award was given to high-tech manufacturer Sonostics.
The Individual Award went to a team that was credited with bringing the whole community together – the World Champion Maine-Endwell Little League team.