Manufacturing Still Plays Vital Role in New York State Economy

By Assemblyman Will Barclay

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced this month that general business conditions for manufacturers in New York improved — the highest point since June 2010.  According to the monthly summary, manufacturers were asked about their 2012 capital spending plans.  More manufacturers plan to increase their capital spending (46 percent) than reduce their capital spending (25 percent) in 2012, as compared to last year.

This is good news for our economy.  Manufacturing still plays a vital role in our local and state economy, despite job losses from major corporations like Kodak and Carrier in recent years.  Manufacturing employs nearly 477,000 workers.  The average salary is $57,145 and the total payroll for manufacturing jobs is estimated at $27 billion, according to the New York State Department of Labor’s most recent data.  In other good news, manufacturing output rose nearly 4% between 1999 and 2009.  Overall, our state ranks eighth in manufacturing output.

New York has adjusted to a global economy better than most; we rank third in exports — behind only Texas and California.  I was pleased to learn how our state fares by comparison.  It doesn’t hurt that Canada is our close neighbor.

A recent report published by the Manufacturing Research Institute (MRI) of New York  outlines some interesting information about exports:

One of the largest export industries is computer and electronic products.

Our primary trading partner is Canada.  Israel and Hong Kong rank second and third in 2010.  These markets have changed substantially.  In 2000, Switzerland and Japan ranked our second and third top export destinations.

Except for an expected decline in 2009 due to the recession, New York exports steadily climbed over the last decade.  Even with the decreases that year, 2010 exports were 44% higher than 2000 levels.

Other export growth industries include machinery, chemicals, automobile engines, jewelry and medical equipment.

The report also states that New York has among the highest energy prices in the country.  Industrial electricity prices, according to the report, are 32% higher than the national average.  It greatly affects the state’s ability to compete.  Food, machinery, plastics and rubber products, paper, jewelry and transportation equipment–all which account for the greatest amount of energy used to produce exports–are greatly affected by energy costs and fluctuations.

Here again, it is vital that we update our grid and allow for more energy to be produced, which would lower energy costs.

The MRI is the research, policy and educational arm of the Manufacturers Alliance of New York – a statewide coalition led by manufacturers in Central New York (MACNY).

To view the complete report, visit

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