broken cent_sm

When I was a kid in Zena, most of the dads in the neighborhood put on their mandatory blue dress shirts and ties and drove off each morning to their jobs at the IBM plant in Kingston. They made good money and their children went to college. When IBM left, the job market for those kids and their dads dried up. My first career job was in the Capital Region. I left Ulster County, too.

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photo by Dion Ogust

photo by Dion Ogust

Every autumn holiday brings to the Hudson Valley a swarm of upwardly mobile creative visitors of every level of success. Every infestation of the members of this visiting “creative class,” made famous by Richard Florida’s now-classic 2005 theory that the cities to which knowledge workers congregate will prosper and other cities will not, represents a potential opportunity for the region. They look for nature, culture and community. If they find the Hudson Valley attractive enough for them to want to escape the increasingly expensive and rapidly gentrifying metropolitan centers from which most of them come, our region is likely to be reinvigorated. If they don’t we won’t.

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ulstermoney_small

“When an industry has thus chosen a locality for itself, it is likely to stay there long: so great are the advantages which people following the same skilled trade get from near neighbourhood to one another. The mysteries of the trade become no mysteries; but are as it were in the air, and children learn many of them unconsciously. Good work is rightly appreciated, inventions and improvements in machinery, in processes and the general organization of the business have their merits promptly discussed: if one man starts a new idea, it is taken up by others and combined with suggestions of their own; and thus it becomes the source of further new ideas. And presently subsidiary trades grow up in the neighbourhood, supplying it with implements and materials, organizing its traffic, and in many ways conducing to the economy of its material.”

Alfred Marshall

Principles of Economics, 1890

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jobs
Not so much down looks like up.

Ulster County lost 100 jobs in August, according to preliminary state labor data released late last week. Because the county lost 500 jobs in August last year, however, this August’s total of 59,700 allowed a year-to-year gain of 800 jobs over last August’s 58,900. These numbers of non-farm jobs still lag behind the 60,200 jobs county employment statistics recorded in August 2009 and the 61,700 recorded a decade ago in August 2004.

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caduceus pairs

Is a shuffling of the responsibilities of the players the way to turn America’s struggling healthcare world around? New York State is betting many billions of dollars that it is. The state is open to proposals. It’s asking some of the layers to come up with plausible scenarios for their parts in a rapidly changing universe, and it’s providing the ones whose proposals they like with financial encouragement.

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HVTECH

It’s ironic that late last Wednesday afternoon one of Kingston’s newest techie residents was wearing on his tee shirt the image of an obsolete New York City subway token, now replaced in city turnstiles by a Metro card. Aaron Quint was until very recently chief technical officer in a rapidly growing Manhattan Internet greeting-card company whose stated goal is “to become the new protocol for valued social communication, regardless of the medium you choose.” On August 19 the 31-year-old Quint announced, via tweet, of course, that he was stepping down to become Paperless Post’s chief scientist, now resident in Kingston, instead.

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tourism without tears

“Cultural tourism is concerned with a country or region’s culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of those people, their art, architecture, religion(s), and other elements that helped shape their way of life.” – Adapted from Wikipedia

Because the impacts of tourism are intertwined with so many different aspects of a society, economists find it notoriously difficult to deal with, particularly for the purpose of differentiating good tourism from bad. The studies economists generate should be looked on with great skepticism, especially if they are paid for by those with a vested interest in the outcomes. Since tourism is the fastest-growing major industrial sector in the world economy, however, there’s no excuse for ignoring it.

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