Canton, NY, Dec 31, 2009 — An AP poll out today says 82% of Americans are optimistic about what the new year will bring for their families. The poll also says nearly three-fourths of Americans think 2009 was a bad year for the country, which was hampered by recession. Many are happy to see the end of 2009, a year filled with financial crisis and surging unemployment. David Sommerstein and Brian Mann joined Martha Foley this morning to look back at the year in the North Country. Go to full article
Watertown, NY, Apr 16, 2009 — Our "A Year of Hard Choices" series continue today. Over the next several months, we'll track the effects of the recession though people and organizations in this region, and the choices they make in response. Charitable foundations are an important part of the fabric of local life. They fill in the gaps between tax-supported, public services, and the broader needs of a community's people and organizations. Martha Foley talked with Alex Velto, the long-time executive director of the Northern New York Community Foundation, about how it's adjusted to the new economic realities. Go to full article
Potsdam, NY, Mar 23, 2009 — Our series starts with a conversation about the state of the region--economically speaking. Greg Gardner has been a student of the North Country economy since coming to the region 15 years ago. He teaches management and business strategy at SUNY Potsdam. He and his wife live outside Watertown. Gardner says the NC economy is fairly simple--service-oriented and shaped by a relatively small population, spread over a large area. It's highly seasonal--tourism, farming. Typically, employment and spending go down in the winter, up in the summer. Lots of stable civic jobs, from education to prisons, buffer the region somewhat from highs and lows elsewhere.
Like the rest of the nation, the North Country just had about 10 years of steady economic growth. But that's quickly eroded over the last six months. Manufacturing and farming, economic engines that ship exports out and bring fresh cash in, have been hit hard. Demand for their products has dropped, and financing for their operations has dried up.
Meanwhile, state spending tapered off dramatically in some areas. Using employment as a gauge, Gardner said the NC economy right now looks about the way it did in the early '90s, with unemployment ranging from 9 to 11%, expecting that to moderate in the summer. Now, Gardner says, the downturn is touching more and more people. Go to full article