Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lackluster Performance . . . and Expectations.

Per the headline in the Sentinel: County’s household income trails state, national averages, Census Bureau figures show.
The household median income in the county — with a population of 232,500 — was $48,023, according to the 2015 American Community Survey. The statewide average was $60,850 while it the national figure was $55,775.
Clearly OC's income is lackluster compared with the rest of the state and country. But won't the State and County's "chip" related "investments" completely transform the regional economy?

The article tells us that Saratoga County's median income is over $75K, that Saratoga County is the center of Capital Region chip manufacturing, that local officials look forward to the impact of our chip fab, and that the average pay of all fab employees will be about $60K. The article suggests the chips will turn things around, but . . .


Assuming for the sake of argument that chip manufacturing will bring in 5,000 new jobs (instead of the 750-1000 seen in various prior press reports) that pay the $60,000 noted above, add same to the current labor force of about 132,000 for Utica-Rome (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics) with the current average  pay for OC households of $48,023, the average pay for the region will ZOOM from $48,023 to . . . . $48,460! OR ABOUT a 0.8% increase.

In other words, 5,000 new $60K chip-fab jobs will hardly be a ripple in the local labor pond.  And that is assuming there will be takers for those jobs.


Based on the article, OC incomes are 14% below the national averages. But the cost of living in Utica-Rome is about 21% higher than the national average, with childcare, taxes and healthcare being the main culprits.  With these extra costs, why would people come here? Government subsidized childcare and healthcare (a temptation of politicians) would be no answer because they would only make the level of taxation all the more onerous.

Simply put, our local economy has passed the point of being able to sustain itself while people and businesses are free to go elsewhere.  Expensive "economic development" projects paid for by taxpayers only exacerbate the situation.

It is time to shrink the role of government in our regional economy.  Only then may we free up enough private capital to make it worthwhile for individuals to invest in the local economy.


Greens and Beans said...

And the politicians all want big fat wage raises for themselves. I can't help but dream by wondering if the politician's salaries should be based on the median income of the area they represent? If the median income goes up, their wages could go up accordingly. And what if the median income goes down, the politician's income should decrease accordingly. Perhaps then there would be some incentive for them to focus their energies on preserving and growing jobs for their citizens. I know this would NEVER happen. For that reason I call it a dream.

Anonymous said...

The income figures quoted tell us two basic facts about the area. One, we are demographically very old, meaning that many of our residents live on fixed incomes. Second, the idea that the relatively small "Nano miracle" was never to be transformative. Even if it all happens, which is highly doubtful, there simply aren't enough jobs to make it "transformative." Decades from now, if there is a Nano presents of any scope, spin offs, new businesses,etc., may blossom. However, due to the factors mentioned by Strike, those new businesses even if they were to result would likely be started in a much more business friendly area. The transformative nature of Nano is a figment of the hype of politicians and a couple of local radio show idiots who do not bother with facts of any sort.