Take action. That was the message from Vice President and Regional Economist at M&T Bank Gary Keith to Binghamton’s business community on Tuesday.
Keith delivered his annual economic forecast for the region, and the numbers are grim. Binghamton has had lower growth than other upstate cities and the nation at large.
Also, the labor force is shrinking. The U.S. labor force, meanwhile, has increased since 2010.
Looking at the future, though, Keith said mindset is more powerful than the trends.
"As I’ve spent many years in the economics field, I’ve become more and more convinced that it’s less about the economy and more about psychology," he said to reporters after his presentation.
Keith told business leaders in the audience that they can’t wait for the public sector or a big corporation to make investments in local projects.
Keith lives in Buffalo, a city which, he said, also over-relied on manufacturing and where, at one point, people thought nothing could change. But that belief changed when the waterfront was revamped.
"The minute it started to move forward, then you got other people saying, 'well, how about making another change, and another change?'" he said. "And it’s, sort of, the proof that things can change that sometimes is more important."
All of us, he said, need to do our part.
There was a bright spot in his presentation: the number of Binghamton area's millennial population has grown by four percent since 2010.
Keith’s annual presentation is sponsored by the Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.