Governor Cuomo handed out over $700 million dollars in Regional Economic Development awards in Albany Thursday.
The governor’s held an annual contest to make regions of the state compete to win millions of dollars in economic development monies. They are judged by the strength of their plans. The awards ranged from over $80 million dollars for the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, Capital Region, New York City and the Mid-Hudson Valley to over $60 million dollars each for Western New York, the Southern Tier Central New York the North Country and Long Island.
Cuomo says there are signs that the program, now in its fifth year, is working.
“Unemployment has dropped all across the state of New York,” Cuomo said, with the current unemployment rate now around 5%.
Cuomo says there are plenty of employment challenges ahead, though. He says manufacturing jobs have not been lost to immigrants or trade deals with foreign countries. He says the biggest change is that much more factory work has been automated, and overseen by fewer, but more highly skilled workers. Afterward, Cuomo was asked whether he was referring to remarks made by President –elect Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.
He did mention Trump by name, but said, “that may be true to an extent.” But Cuomo says most of the jobs have been replaced by “robots”.
Cuomo says New York has the potential, through its university system, to train the new manufacturing workers.