DiNapoli: Mohawk Valley facing economic challenges, but there are some bright spots

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli made a trip to Utica on Friday to unveil his office's Special Report on the Economic Profile for the Mohawk Valley.

Posted: Jul 13, 2018 2:45 PM

Utica, N.Y. - New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli made a trip to Utica on Friday to unveil his office's Special Report on the Economic Profile for the Mohawk Valley.

The state Comptroller's Office is compiling a similar report for each region of the state.

Comptroller DiNapoli says the Mohawk Valley Region has seen its share of economic challenges, including population loss over the past couple of decades, but he highlights job increases in health care and some manufacturing sectors as positives for our area.

On the negative side, when compared to the overall state, DiNapoli says unemployment and child poverty rates are higher throughout The Mohawk Valley Region than the rest of the state.

The Mohawk Valley Region consists of the following six counties: Oneida, Herkimer, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery and Schoharie.

The unemployment rate in the Mohawk Valley Region in 2017 was 5.4 percent, compared to the statewide rate of 4.7 percent.

Senator Joe Griffo of Rome says he appreciates the report but adds he would like to see some changes when it comes to the way economic development is done to lure businesses to the Mohawk Valley, something echoed by DiNapoli to News Channel 2 after the press conference.

DiNapoli also explained why the child poverty rate is an important statistic.

"Children are our future and when you have a significant number of our youngest citizens in a condition of poverty, that's going to have an impact as far as educational opportunity and attainment," DiNapoli said. "It underscores the need for us to recognize that that is a significant challenge, that we need to not only government, but through the nonprofit sector, to provide support for those families, and it also underscores the importance of economic development. And while we sometimes celebrate some of the bigger ticket items when a big corporation settles here, what we should be focusing on is how can we get the employment opportunities to the families that are living in poverty because ultimately it's the children that suffer when we don't address their economic needs."

The child poverty rate which in Oneida County is 5 percent higher than the state average and Montgomery county, which is about 11 percent higher.

Child Poverty rates based on U.S. Census Bureau figures for 2017:

- New York State : 21.9%

- Oneida County : 26.8%
- Herkimer County : 20.7%
- Fulton County : 23.6%
- Montgomery County : 32.8%
- Schoharie County : 20.1%
- Hamilton County : 12.2%

If you'd like to read the entire 28-page Mohawk Valley Economic Profile Special Report by the New York State Comptroller's office, click here.

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