M&T economist: Rochester economy improving

M&T economist: Rochester economy improving

Overview

By Gary Keith,

 

This is the year that the Rochester economy will move back to a pre-recession level, said Gary Keith, chief economist at M&T Bank.

Keith was the keynote speaker at the 2017 Economic Breakfast, hosted Thursday by Rochester Home Builders Association, Greater Rochester Association of Realtors and other business groups.

The Rochester region suffered the downsizing of its former largest employer with Eastman Kodak’s financial woes, but the decline in manufacturing jobs is being replaced with other private-sector jobs, Keith said.

“We’re getting to the point where we can say we’re getting out of the big hole we dug for ourselves,” Keith said.

Rochester’s GDP, or gross domestic product, moved up to $57.8 billion in 2016, which is back to the 2007 mark of $57.4 billion.

The gross domestic product is an indicator used to gauge the health of the economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period.

Higher home sales also bode well for the confidence in Rochester’s economy, Keith said. With sales up 7.9 percent in 2016, it shows that consumers are confident enough to take on long-term debt.

Keith took on a cautiously optimistic approach in advising the audience that Rochester is still Rochester. But the economic indicators do look good from the get-go, he said.

“This is going to be a nice year for us ahead,” Keith said.