The North Country bounces back?

Last week, Alcoa announced that it will reopen one of its plants in Massena, restoring more than 350 jobs.

Last month, Laurentian Aerospace went public with news that its airline refurbishment project in Plattsburgh appears to have the green light from investors — a prospect that could eventually bring 900 new jobs to Clinton County.

In November, another Canadian firm announced that it will open a medicine manufacturing plant in Massena, promising as many as 100 new jobs.

There are smaller signs of fresh energy as well.

Last month, NCPR’s David Sommerstein profiled a grocer in Jefferson County who’s reviving his parents’ store, this time with a focus on locally-produced food.

This isn’t meant to be an everything-is-rosy lullaby.  Clearly, times are still tough out there for a lot of businesses and a lot of families.

But these are major, hopeful developments, right? We just weren’t hearing much of this good news in 2008 and 2009.

And the timing couldn’t be better, because we appear to be part of a national trend of big job cuts in the public sector.

In last week’s job report, private industry added more than 110,000 new jobs nationwide, while government employers cut roughly 10,000 positions — a trend which has been on-going over the last year.

With a little luck and hard work, there might actually be some new jobs available here in the region, as paychecks from Albany (and from local property tax payers) continue to dwindle.

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9 Comments on “The North Country bounces back?”

  1. JDM says:

    Clearly, this is not “a rising tide”.

    There are Alcoa-specific reasons for the good news about the restarting of the plant.

    It is great news, of course.

    The thread about the possible closing of the correctional facilities reminds us that the only involvement our elected officials may have in the Alcoa deal, were of necessity, and not an intentional full-scale recovery.

  2. Mervel says:

    The reason is the price of aluminum which when it goes up is a good thing for Alcoa and for Massena.

    But these are good things and I think they show that private industry can indeed succeed in the North Country.

  3. DBW says:

    Hardly. Meantime Ogdensburg has lost over 600 jobs with the departure of Breckenridge and Cors-tek. We continue to spend millions of dollars to lure companies to come here to take advantage of the cheap labor, only to have many of them depart within a few years. We need to divert some of this money to supporting regional entrepreneurs that are less likely to leave the region.

  4. scratchy says:

    DBW,
    I don’t think “we” have any more money to spend.

  5. Mervel says:

    There is no overarching plan for economic development in the North Country or even at the County level. There seems to be a conglomeration of economic development professionals and programs spread within the localities that seem to be spinning their wheels.

    The fact is Alcoa has shown that indeed economic growth can occur in this region with the right world conditions for some commodities.

    I would like to see some study of the plans and thinking of the major private employers such as Alcoa, the Medical Device industry, and small business which are already here; for why they expand and why they stay here and what would cause them to leave?

    I am not sure bribing companies to locate here always works?

  6. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    And don’t discount the cheap energy Alcoa receives as a factor in their long-term commitment to its presence in Massena. One thing I was encouraged by in last weeks State of the State address was Cuomo’s idea of creating a permanent power for jobs program.

    While I believe Alcoa’s power deal is a bit different, it relates to the same thing, cheap energy. It seems to me that we’ve been severely short changed here in the North Country for what seems like decades now as we produce, in vast quantities, and very cheaply, the commodity everyone needs, electricity.! We have hydro dams everywhere, co-gen plants with gargantuan supplies of bio-mass to feed them, and now wind farms. Why shouldn’t the North Country be one vast municipal power company with the means to attract more manufacturers with the benefit of cheap power? Or at least be compensated for the ability to basically power a very large portion of the State. I realize this is oversimplification, and there are serious interests who would never allow it, but we have the assets to improve our economy, we just need to take advantage of them.

  7. Pete Klein says:

    Brian,
    I’m sure you know this but the North Country and the Adirondacks are really very different areas.
    We need to keep in mind good news for Plattsburg and Massena doesn’t mean much of anything for most towns in the Adirondacks. It means about as much and maybe even less that the economy in NYC is growing.
    I’m not suggesting I don’t wish the “North Country” well. I only mean it is very different from the Adirondacks.
    For economic development purposes, the two area need to be viewed as having different needs and problems.
    You might just as well suggest any development taking place in Schenectady or Albany counties is good news for Adirondacks.
    North, south, east or west of the Adirondacks is different from the Adirondacks.

  8. Mervel says:

    Good points Clapton!

  9. Sherm Brown says:

    I like Professor Robert Reich’s recommendation: we need a Works Progress Administration, organized in Washington, to employ millions.
    It did wonders in the nineteen thirties, and resulted in great accomplishments
    in growing/repairing our infrastructure.
    Mr. Reich is a noted Econ. Prof. at University of California @ Berkeley, CA.
    He served as Econ. Advisor to Bill Clinton.
    In addition to the WPA the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps was effective in putting people to work.
    This won’t be easy. Conservatives will resist. It requires taxes to support it.
    Conservatives have ALWAYS exacerbated Econ. Problems.
    The solutions on the Right are Slash & Burn.
    Conservatives made the Great Depression more severe.
    They will do it again, if we let them.
    Fight for what is right, New York, and Godspeed!

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