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Area industries’ sales are up, economic chief reports

Economic Development Corp. President Victoria Pratt Gerbino offered good news to Warren County leaders Thursday — manufacturers in the region are reporting increased sales, which may eventually lead to job growth.

Economic Development Corp. President Victoria Pratt Gerbino offered good news to Warren County leaders Thursday — manufacturers in the region are reporting increased sales, which may eventually lead to job growth. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Despite recent news suggesting that employment is stagnant, local industry is actually on the upswing, a top economic development official told Warren County leaders Thursday Oct. 27.

Economic Development Corp. President Victoria Pratt-Gerbino said that since July, she’s been holding many meetings with area industry leaders, and she’s received good news.

Sales of manufactured goods have risen for the area’s manufacturers, and their productivity has risen, she told the county Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development Committee.

“I’m hearing a very positive trend,” she said. “Sales are up.”

There’s a way to go, however, before the area economy expands substantially, she continued.

“The manufacturers are not yet pulling the trigger for installing new equipment, plant expansion or adding jobs,” she said, “but things are definitely trending in the right direction.” she said.

Pratt-Gerbino cautioned, however, that the firms reported pressure on profitability, as heightened competition has slimmed up profit margins.

There’s a good chance those profit margins can be expanded, she said, if area companies are able to obtain lower-cost electricity through a new program, “ReCharge New York,” signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The program offers reduced-cost power to not only to large industries that are expanding, but to firms that are aiming to retain jobs, as well as manufacturers and businesses and non-profit organizations of virtually any size.

She said that she was currently working with 10 businesses in preparing applications for the ReCharge New York program, which provides power contracts for up to seven years.

Pratt-Gerbino added that area manufacturers were active in seeking out new markets for their goods, particularly overseas.

The recession has offered some good news to industries in the region, she continued. The economic downturn has forced many of the competitors elsewhere in the U.S. to shut down — and when the economy rebounds, this will mean more sales and a healthier profit margin for the area firms that have weathered the downturn.

She said that the stage was set for a rebound. Sales of manufactured goods were rising, she said, noting that the gross domestic product of the Glens Falls region was up 3.5 percent for 2010 over 2009 — the latest figures released by the government.

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