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Moody's: More Signs of Decline For Upstate NY

10:57 PM, Aug 2, 2013   |    comments
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By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief

ALBANY The closing of Bausch & Lomb's headquarters in Rochester is "credit negative" for upstate New York and another sign of jobs moving from the Northeast to the Southeast, Moody's Investment Services said in a report Friday.

On Monday, B & L new owner, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, said it would move its corporate headquarters out of Rochester after being founded in the city in the mid-1800s. The move may lead to more than 500 job cuts in Rochester, state and local officials said.

Moody's said the announcement is in stark contract to recent announcements in other parts of the country of major job growth.

Earlier this week, Amazon.com Inc. said it would add 7,000 jobs to warehouses in more than 10 cities, mainly in the South.

"The announcements reflect a credit negative trend of job losses in the historical industrial employment centers of upstate New York, and gravitation of many new jobs to the Southeast, which is credit positive for local governments in that region," the report said.

The Moody's report pointed to Rochester's population and employment loss as being similar to the other two large upstate cities, Buffalo and Syracuse. Rochester's population fell from 295,011 in 1970 to 210,565 in 2010, a 29 percent drop. Since 2000, the Rochester area's employment fell 16 percent, or by 18,185 workers, mainly because of cuts at two of the city's larger employers, Eastman Kodak Co. and Xerox Corp.

Moody's said that upstate is in the same boat as Michigan and Ohio, once major manufacturing-based economies where employment has contracted and jobs moved to the Southeast and Sun Belt.

"The persistent job losses in these areas will continue to be a credit-negative for many cities that once relied on manufacturing to support their tax bases," Moody's said. "Meanwhile, local economies in states such as Colorado (Aa1 stable) and Texas (Aaa stable) will continue to benefit from the net importation of jobs."

Moody's said that New York continues to lose out on jobs in the aircraft industry. Northrop Grumman, the aerospace and defense technology giant, announced in March it would move 850 jobs from Long Island to Florida and California. The Bethpage site once employed more than 25,000 people; now it about 550.

Last year, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. closed its military facility in Big Flats, Chemung County, and cut 570 jobs.

Meanwhile, Boeing announced plans last spring to invest $1 billion and add at least 2,000 jobs at its manufacturing plant in North Charleston, SC.

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