Chamber holds its annual Economic Forecast Breakfast

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The local business community is finally hearing a positive outlook on our area’s economy after many, many years of decline.

The Greater Binghamton Chamber held its annual Economic Forecast Breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Binghamton featuring M & T Bank Regional Economist Gary Keith.

Keith says he’s seen a reversal of fortunes in the past 18 months to two years as cuts in manufacturing are no longer off-setting gains in the service sector.

In fact, he says there’s actually been slight growth in manufacturing recently in the region.

Keith says local start-ups are the key to the turnaround.

The Chamber also handed out its annual Building BC awards.

In addition to the Transformative Award for the Pharmacy School, the Century Sunrise housing complex in JC received the Restorative Award and the owners of Ellis Brothers Furniture won the Individual Award.

Innovation, which is moving to an expanded campus in Johnson City, received the Innovative Award.

The company has expanded beyond the design and manufacture of automated pharmacy machines to include consulting and predictive analytics.

Keith says the greatest current challenge to the Greater Binghamton economy is a labor shortage.

He says that as older workers retire, there aren’t enough younger replacements due to population loss.

And he says there needs to be a broader, community-wide approach to job training to close the skills gap.

Boyer says Innovation is one of the businesses hiring.

He says they currently have 80 openings in engineering, software, manufacturing, purchasing and project management.

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